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University of California Berkeley 




Regional Oral History Office 
The Bancroft Library 



University of California 
Berkeley, California 



Governmental History Documentation Project 
Goodwin Knight /Edmund Brown, Sr. , Era 



PAT BROWN: FRIENDS AND CAMPAIGNERS 



Nancy Sloss 
Meredith Burch 
Charles Guggenheim 
Judy Royer Carter 
Norman Elkington 

Helen Nelson 



Political Appointments and Personalities 
Political Notes 

The Use of Film in Political Campaigning 
Pat Brown: The Governorship and After 

From Adversary to Appointee: Fifty Years 
of Friendship with Pat Brown 

The First Consumer Counsel in California 



Interviews Conducted by 

Amelia R. Fry, Eleanor Glaser, Julie Shearer 
1977-1979 



Copyright (c) 1982 by the Regents of the University of California 



This manuscript is made available for research 
purposes. No part of the manuscript may be quoted 
for publication without the written permission of 
the Director of The Bancroft Library of the University 
of California at Berkeley. 

Requests for permission to quote for publication 
should be addressed to the Regional Oral History 
Office, 486 Library, and should include identification 
of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated 
use of the passages, and identification of the user. 

It is recommended that this oral history be cited 
as follows: 

To cite the volume: "Pat Brown: Friends and 
Campaigners," an oral history conducted 1977-79, 
Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft 
Library, University of California, Berkeley, 
1982. 

To cite individual interview: Nancy Sloss, 

"Political Appointments and Personalities," 

an oral history conducted 1977 by Eleanor Glaser, 

in "Pat Brown: Friends and Campaigners," 

Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft 

Library, University of California, Berkeley, 

1982. 



Copy No. 



PREFACE 



Covering the years 1953 to 1966, the Goodwin Knight-Edmund G. "Pat" 
Brown, Sr. , Oral History Series is the second phase of the Governmental 
History Documentation Project begun by the Regional Oral History Office 
in 1969. That year inaugurated the Earl Warren Era Oral History Project, 
which produced interviews with Earl Warren and other persons prominent in 
politics, criminal justice, government administration, and legislation 
during Warren s California era, 1925 to 1953. 

The Knight-Brown series of interviews carries forward the earlier 
inquiry into the general topics of: the nature of the governor s office, 
its relationships with the legislature and with its own executive depart 
ments, biographical data about Governors Knight and Brown and other 
leaders of the period, and methods of coping with the rapid social and 
economic changes of the state. Key issues documented for 1953-1966 were: 
the rise and decline of the Democratic party, the impact of the California 
Water Plan, the upheaval of the Vietnam War escalation, the capital punish 
ment controversy, election law changes, new political techniques forced by 
television and increased activism, reorganization of the executive branch, 
the growth of federal programs in California, and the rising awareness of 
minority groups. From a wider view across the twentieth century, the 
Knight-Brown period marks the final era of California s Progressive 
period, which was ushered in by Governor Hiram Johnson in 1910 and which 
provided for both parties the determining outlines of government organiza 
tion and political strategy until 1966. 

The Warren Era political files, which interviewers had developed 
cooperatively to provide a systematic background for questions, were 
updated by the staff to the year 1966 with only a handful of new topics 
added to the original ninety-one. An effort was made to record in greater 
detail those more significant events and trends by selecting key partici 
pants who represent diverse points of view. Most were queried on a 
limited number of topics with which they were personally connected; a few 
narrators who possessed unusual breadth of experience were asked to discuss 
a multiplicity of subjects. Although the time frame of the series ends 
at the November 1966 election, when possible the interviews trace events 
on through that date in order to provide a logical baseline for continuing 
study of succeeding administrations. Similarly, some narrators whose exper 
ience includes the Warren years were questioned on that earlier era as well 
as the Knight-Brown period. 



ii 



The present series has been financed by grants from the California State 
Legislature through the California Heritage Preservation Commission and the 
office of the Secretary of State, and by some individual donations. Portions 
of several memoirs were funded partly by the California Women in Politics 
Project under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, in 
cluding a matching grant from the Rockefeller Foundation; the two projects 
were produced concurrently in this office, a joint effort made feasible by 
overlap of narrators, topics, and staff expertise. 

The Regional Oral History Office was established to tape record autobio 
graphical interviews with persons significant in the history of California 
and the West. The Office is under the administrative direction of James D. 
Hart, Director of The Bancroft Library, and Willa Baum, head of the Office. 



Amelia R. Fry, Project Director 
Gabrielle Morris, Project Coordinator 



ill 



GOVERNMENTAL HISTORY DOCUMENTATION PROJECT 



Advisory Council 

Don A. Allen 
James Bassett 
Walton E. Bean* 
Peter Behr 
William E. Bicker 
Paul Bullock 
Lou Cannon 
Edmond Costantini 
William N. Davis 
A. I. Dickman 
Harold E. Geiogue 
Carl Greenberg 
Michael Harris 
Phil Kerby 
Virginia Knight 
Frank Lanterman * 
Mary Ellen Leary 
Eugene C . Lee 



James R. W. Leiby 
Albert Lepawsky 
Dean McHenry 
Frank Mesple* 
James R. Mills 
Edgar J. Patterson 
Cecil F. Poole 
A. Alan Post 
Robert H. Power 
Bruce J. Poyer 
Albert S. Rodda 
Richard Rodda 
Ed Salzman 

Mortimer D. Schwartz 
Verne Scoggins 
David Snyder 
Caspar Weinberger 



Project Interviewers 

Malca Chall 
Amelia R. Fry 
Gabrielle Morris 
James Rowland 
Sarah Sharp 
Julie Shearer 



Special Interviewers 

Eleanor Glaser 
Harriet Nathan 
Suzanne Riess 
Miriam Feingold Stein 
Ruth Teiser 



*Deceased during the term of the project, 



iv 



GOODWIN KNIGHT-EDMUND BROWN, SR. ERA ORAL HISTORY PROJECT 
(California, 1953-1966) 

Interviews Completed and In Process, March 1982 



Single Interview Volumes 

Bradley, Don, [Managing Democratic Campaigns, 2954-1966. In process. 

Brown, Edmund G. , Sr., "Pat", Years of Growth, 1939-1966; LasJ Enforcement, 
Politics, and the Governor s Office. 1982 

Champion, Hale, Corrmunication and Problem-Solving: A Journalist in State 
Government. 1981. 

Davis, Pauline. In process. 

Dutton, Frederick G., Democratic Campaigns and Controversies, 1954-2966. 1981. 

Hills, Edgar, Boyhood Friend, Independent Critic, and Campaign Manager of 
Pat Brown. In process. 

Hotchkis, Preston, Sr., One Man s Dynamic Pole in California Politics and Water 
Development, and World Affairs. 1980. 

Kent, Roger, Building the Democratic Party in California, 1954-1966. 1981. 
Knight, Virginia (Mrs. Goodwin). In process. 

Leary, Mary Ellen, A Journalist s Perspective: Government and Politics in 
California and the Bay Area. 1981. 

Lynch, Thomas, A Career in Politics and the Attorney General s Office. In process, 

Simpson, Roy E. , California Department of Education, with an Introduction by 
Wilson Riles, Sr. 1978. 



Multi-Interview Volumes 

PAT BROWN: FRIENDS AND CAMPAIGNERS. 1982. 

Sloss, Nancy, Political Appointments and Personalities. 

Burch, Meredith, Political Notes. 

Guggenheim, Charles, The Use of Film in Political Campaigning. 

Carter, Judy Royer, Pat Broun: The Governorship and After. 

Elkington, Norman, From Adversary to Appointee: Fifty Years of Friendship 

with Pat Brown. 
Nelson, Helen, The First Consumer Counsel in California. 

BROWN FAMILY PORTRAITS. In process. 

Brown, Bernice Layne, Life in the Governor s Mansion 

Brown, Frank M. , Edmund G. Brown s Commitment to Lessen Social Ills: 

View from a Younger Brother 

Brown, Herold C. , A Lifelong Republican for Edmund G. Broun 
Carlson, Constance Brown, My Brothers Edmund, Harold, and Frank 

CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICERS. 1980. 

Button, A. Ronald, California Republican Party Official and State 

Treasurer of California, 1956-1958. 
Gibson, Phil, Recollections of a Chief Justice of the California Supreme 

Court. 

Mosk, Stanley, Attorney General s Office and Political Campaigns, 1958-1966. 
Powers, Harold J., On Prominent Issues, the Republican Party, and Political 

Campaigns: A Veteran Republican Views the Goodwin Knight Era. 

EDUCATION ISSUES AND PLANNING, 1953-1966. 1980. 

Doyle, Donald, An Assemblyman Views Education, Mental Health, and Legis 
lative and Republican Politics. 

McKay, Robert, Robert McKay and the California Teacher s Association. 

Sexton, Keith, Legislating Higher Education: A Consultant s View of the 
Master Plan for Higher Education. 

Sherriffs, Alex, The University of California and the Free Speech Movement: 
Perspectives from a Faculty Member and Administrator. 

TEE GOVERNOR S OFFICE UNDER EDMUND G. BROWN, SR. 1981. 

Becker, William, Working for Civil Rights: With Unions, the Legislature, 
and Governor Pat Brown. 

Christopher, Warren, Special Counsel to the Governor: Recalling the 
Pat Brown Years. 

Davis, May Layne Bonne 11, An Appointment Secretary Reminisces. 

Kline, Richard, Governor Brown s Faithful Advisor. 

Mesple, Frank, From Clovis to the Capitol: Building a Career as a Legis 
lative Liaison. 

Poole, Cecil, Executive Clemency and the Chessman Case. 

THE GOVERNOR S OFFICE UNDER GOODWIN KNIGHT. 1980. 

Barrett, Douglas, Goodwin Knight s Governor s Office, 1953-1958, and the 

Youth Authority, 1958-1965. 

Bright, Tom M., The Governor s Office of Goodwin J. Knight, 1953-1958. 
Groves, Sadie Perlin, A Career as Private Secretary to Goodwin Knight, 

1952-1958. 

Lemmon, Maryalice, Working in the Governor s Office, 1950-1959. 
Mason, Paul, Covering the Legislature for Governor Goodwin J. Knight. 



vi 



GOODWIN KNIGHT: AIDES, ADVISERS, AND APPOINTEES. 1981. 
Bell, Dorothy Hewes, Reminiscences of Goodwin Knight. 
Finks, Harry, California Labor and Goodwin Knight, the 1950s. 
Hill, John Lamar II, First Minority Member of the State Board of 

Funeral Examiners. 
Polland, Milton, Political and Personal Friend of Earl Warren, Goodwin 

Knight, and Hubert Humphrey. 



ISSUES AND INNOVATIONS IN THE 2966 REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN. 1980. 
Nofziger, Franklyn, Press Secretary for Ronald Reagan,^ 2966. 
Parkinson, Gaylord, California Republican Party Official, 1962-1967. 
Roberts, Willia,m, Professional Campaign Management and the Candidate, 

1960-1966. 
Spencer, Stuart , Developing a Campaign Management Organization. 

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATIVE LEADERS, VOLUME I. 1980. 

Caldecott, Thomas W., Legislative Strategies, Relations with the Governor s 

Office, 2947-2957. 

Fisher, Hugo, California Democratic Politics, 2958-2965. 
Lanterman, Frank, California Assembly, 2949-2978: Water, Mental Health, 

and Education Issues. 
Richards, Richard, Senate Campaigns and Procedures, California Water Plan. 

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATIVE LEADERS, VOLUME II. 1981. 

Burns, Hugh, Legislative and Political Concerns of the Senate Pro Tern, 

2957-2970. 

Lincoln, Luther, Young Turk to Speaker of the California Assembly, 2948-2958. 
Rattigan, Joseph, A Judicial Look at Civil Rights, Education, and Reappor- 

tionment in the State Senate, 2959-2966. 
Sumner, Bruce, California State Assemblyman and Chairman of the Constitution 

Revision Commission, 2964-2970. 
Allen, Bruce F. , California Oil and Water, and the Politics of Reform, 

2953-2960. 

ONE MAN-ONE VOTE AND SENATE REAPPORTIONMENT, 2964-2966. 1980. 

Teale, Stephen, The Impact of One Man-One Vote on the Senate: Senator 

Teale Reviews Reapportionment and Other Issues, 2953-2966. 
Allen, Don A., A Los Angeles Assemblyman Recalls the Reapportionment Struggle. 

PERSPECTIVES ON DEPARTI&NT ADMINISTRATION, CALIFORNIA 2953-2966. 1980. 
Peirce, John, California State Department of Finance, 2953-2958. 
Levit, Bert W. , State Finance and Innovations in Government Organization, 

2944-2959. 

Tieburg, Albert B. , California State Department of Employment, 2945-2966. 
Wedemeyer, John, California State Department of Social Welfare, 2959-2966. 
Lowry, James, California State Department of Mental Hygiene, 1960s. 



vii 



POLITICAL ADVOCACY AND LOYALTY. 1982. 

Coffey, Bertram, Reflections on George Miller, Jr., Governors Pat and 

Jerry Brown , and the Democratic Party. 
Blease, Coleman, A Lobbyist Views the Knight-Brown Era. 
Yorty, Samuel, Samuel Yorty: A Challenge to the Democrats. 
Engle, Lucretia, Clair Engle as Campaigner and Statesman. 
Salinger, Pierre, A Journalist as Democratic Campaigner and U.S. Senator. 

REMEMBERING WILLIAM KNOWLAND. 1981. 

Jewett, Emelyn Knowland, My Father s Political Philosophy and Colleagues. 
Johnson, Estelle Knowland, My Father as Senator, Campaigner, and Civic Leader. 
Manolis, Paul, A Friend and Aide Reminisces. 

REPORTING FROM SACRAMENTO. 1981. 

Behrens, Earl C. , Gubernatorial Campaigns and Party Issues: A Political 

Reporter s View, 1948-1966. 
Bergholz, Richard, Reporting on California Government and Politics, 

1953-1966. 
Kossen, Sydney, Covering Goodwin Knight and the Legislature for the 

San Francisco News., 1956-1958. 

SAN FRANCISCO REPUBLICANS. 1980. 

Christopher, George, Mayor of San Francisco and Republican Party Candidate. 
Weinberger, Caspar W. , California Assembly, Republican State Central 
Committee, and Elections, 1953-1966. 

CALIFORNIA WATER ISSUES, 1950-1966. 1981. 

Brown, Edmund G. , Sr. , The California Water Project: Personal Interest 

and Involvement in the Legislation, Public Support, and Construction, 

1950-1966. 

Goldberg, B. Abbott, Water Policy Issues in the Courts, 1950-1966. 
Brody, Ralph M. , Devising Legislation and Building Public Support for the 

California Water Project, 1959-1960; Brief History of the Westlands 

Water District. 
Warne, William E. , Administration of the Department of Water Resources, 

1961-1966. 
Bonderson, Paul R. , Executive Officer, Regional and State Water Pollution 

and Water Quality Control Boards, 1950-1966. 



viii 



INTRODUCTION 



As part of the Governmental History Documentation Project, Pat Brown; 
Friends and Campaigners contributes several informal portraits of political 
issues and campaigning in California from the 1940s through the 1960s. 
In addition, each interviewee in this volume brings a particularly personal 
perspective to the subject of Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, Sr. , himself, as governor 
of California and campaigner. Nancy Sloss discusses the personalities of 
people who worked on several of Brown s campaigns, and the intricacies of 
her role as appointments secretary. Meredith Burch, who also worked with 
Sloss on appointments, focusses on the process of Brown s campaign organiza 
tion. Charles Guggenheim s brief interview is a fascinating examination of 
the use of film in political campaigning, especially in Brown s 1966 drive 
for re-election to a third term. Judy Carter s session discusses the 1966 
campaign from the perspective of southern California, as well as how the 
governor s Los Angeles office coped with the 1964 Watts riot. Norman 
Elkington takes time to talk about Brown s early days as a lawyer and 
district attorney for San Francisco, and campaigning for attorney general. 
Helen Nelson narrates the creation and development of the Office of Consumer 
Counsel as the fulfillment of a campaign promise Pat Brown made in 1958. 

Beyond the explicit recounting of details of Pat Brown s campaigns and 
administrations in these oral histories are clues to the complex personal 
relationships and interworkings of California politics which these inter 
viewees represent. Readers of this volume will be interested to see Brown s 
own perspectives on all of these issues in his own interview conducted by 
several members of the Regional Oral History Office, also published in 1982, 
Years of Growth, 1939-1966; Law Enforcement, Politics, and the Governor s 
Office. 

Sarah Sharp 
Interviewer/Editor 



26 May 1982 

Regional Oral History Office 

Room 486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 



Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 



Governmental History Documentation Project 
Goodwin Knight/Edmund Brown, Sr. , Era 



Nancy Sloss 
POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS AND PERSONALITIES 



An Interview Conducted by 

Eleanor Glaser 

in 1977 



Copyright ("c^\ 1982 by the Regents of the University of California 



TABLE OF CONTENTS Nancy Sloss 



INTERVIEW HISTORY i 

I THE APPOINTMENT PROCESS 1 

II WHO WAS WHO IN THE EDMUND G. BROWN ADMINISTRATION 9 

III A WORKING VIEW OF GOVERNOR BROWN 14 

TAPE GUIDE 21 

APPENDIX List of campaign material donated to The Bancroft 

Library by Nancy Sloss 22 

INDEX 23 



INTERVIEW HISTORY 



This short interview with Nancy Sloss was held in Washington, D.C. late 
in the afternoon of a sunny April day in 1977, when the city was adorned by 
masses of azalea blossoms. It was Friday and most other personnel had already 
left the small Guggenheim Productions building, which is located on a quiet 
side street in bustling Georgetown. Charles Guggenheim s firm produces 
campaign material, TV shorts, etc., for political candidates , and his TV film 
was used in Governor Brown s 1966 campaign. An interview with 
Charles Guggenheim was recorded for this series. 

Miss Sloss is a friendly, no-nonsense woman, termed by Elizabeth Gatov 
in her oral history as "the most competent woman I know." She had worked in 
her native San Francisco on Pat Brown s first gubernatorial campaign in 1958. 
In 1960 she joined the governor s staff, first taking charge of political 
correspondence and later assisting the travel secretary. After a leave of 
absence to work on President Lyndon Johnson s 1964 campaign, Miss Sloss 
returned to Sacramento as the governor s appointments secretary. 

This position brought her in close contact with Brown: "It was a very 
one-to-one relationship," Nancy Sloss stated. They remain friends to this 
day, getting together for dinner when the governor is in Washington. 
Miss- Sloss has also kept in touch with others from the governor s staff who 
now work in the nation s capital. 

Originally Miss Sloss was interviewed to obtain background material on 
the Brown administration. She was asked to make suggestions about who should 
be interviewed and what questions should be asked. She was very helpful, not 
only in her frank comments , but also in supplying telephone numbers and 
addresses of former staff members. The interview was so interesting and in 
formative that it was decided to include it in this volume on Governor Brown s 
office operations. 

Upon reviewing the edited manuscript, Miss Sloss requested further 
deletions since her remarks were not at first intended for publication. The 
manuscript was re-edited to reflect Miss Sloss s thoughtful appraisal of 
personalities and issues. 

Interested readers may see Appendix for list of campaign material which 
Miss Sloss donated to The Bancroft Library to supplement her interview. 



Eleanor K. Glaser 
Interviewer-Editor 



30 June 1980 

Regional Oral History Office 

486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 



I THE APPOINTMENT PROCESS 
[Interview April 22, 1977 ]## 



Glaser: We understand from Roger Kent that you were part of the "212 Gang,"* 
and then Pat Brown s appointments secretary. 

Sioss: I can explain to you a little bit about what I did and how I got there 
if that s useful to you. I can give you names of people who d be 
helpful, to expand on who you should talk to. I ve got some ideas 
on that too. 

I went through my memorabilia and I am an absolute non-saver 
of the worst kind. But I did bring some things, it s sitting out in 
my car. I have so little that I m very reluctant to give anything 
away, but anything you think is useful I certainly would give to 
you. I could kick myself that I didn t save anything very, very 
little. 

Glaser: You don t know while it s going on that it s history. 
Sloss: I ve never had a very good sense of history. 
Glaser: You come from a famous family, don t you? 

Sloss: I don t know if it s famous or not, but it s certainly an early 
California family. 

Glaser: The Alaska Commercial Company. 



*The San Francisco office at 212 Sutter Street, shared by the 
Democratic State Central Committee and the California Democratic 
Council . 

##This symbol indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has 
begun or ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 21. 



Sloss: My grandparents were all born in California. Maybe that s why I 
don t pay any attention to it, because I ve grown up with that. 
And also when you come into the East, people do not think that the 
1840s is very early. As far as being a pioneer here, it s not early 
at all. 

The first time I worked for Pat Brown was in the 1958 campaign 
when he first ran for governor, although I m sure he would not know 
it. I was hired in the Northern California office and I was about the 
lowest level that you could be I ran the mimeograph, I recruited 
volunteers, supervised volunteers, got out mailings, and did a little 
bit of everything. 

That was an interesting campaign in that it was the last campaign 
I know of in California that was run from Northern California. And 
that was the last time the money and political activists were all in 
the north. In .the south was this little subheadquarters that we had 
in Los Angeles, and it was never like that again. 

It was also the last campaign I was in that had a small staff. 
I don t think we had more than ten people. Fred Dutton was running 
the state-wide campaign out of that office and he had maybe a staff 
of three. There were three or four of us, including the person who 
answered the telephone, who were the so-called Northern California 
campaign staff. But it all got merged together into one operation. 

After that campaign was over I was asked to go on the governor s 
staff in Sacramento and I refused. It s very hard now to realize 
why. Two years later I was asked again and went. The reason I was 
asked two years later is primarily because they d gotten through the 
first legislative session and were beginning to become concerned 
about the fact that there were no political people on the staff 
there were very, very bright lawyers and good newspapermen. They 
were beginning to notice the effect of the fact that correspondence 
from county chairmen and other politicals was shoved aside because 
people didn t really know who they were; they d been so busy on the 
issues. 

So they hired two people, one from Northern California and one 
from Southern California. I started out just working on correspondence, 
giving more attention to political types. Then very shortly after 
that I became part of the scheduling department. I worked with the 
travel secretary in deciding what invitations were accepted, where 
the governor went, and working out the mechanics of how he got 
there. 

Glaser: Who was that person? 



Sloss: I think the travel secretary at that time was John Vasconcellos. He 
was just leaving as travel secretary at that point. He s now a state 
assemblyman. Another was Richard Kline. He is in Washington. 
There s a lot of us here. There really are. I m sure Jack Burby 
is a name that s been given to you. If it isn t, it certainly 
should have been. He was the governor s press secretary from at 
least 1960, which is when I went up there. Fred Button was the 
first executive secretary. Then Hale Champion was executive 
secretary and Jack Burby was the press secretary. 

So I did all the schedules. Then I began to take more and 
more responsibility for that. I worked briefly on the Lyndon 
Johnson campaign in California in 64. In 65 I became what is 
called the appointments secretary, which means appointments to 
boards and commissions, sometimes known as patronage. I did all 
the screening of applicants and to a certain extent made 
recommendations, but certainly not on things like judgeships. 
It was more of a clerical task, to let the governor know which 
groups were supporting this person or that person and submitting 
names to the bar. But he really made the choices. 

Glaser: How did you accumulate your information? 

Sloss: If you just sat still and never moved you would have been inundated 
with people who were trying to find jobs for themselves or for their 
friends. But we also, through other members of the staff and 
through whatever contacts one had, aggressively looked for people 
who were qualified. Not so much positions like the fair board 
appointments, for example: there s a fair board in every county; 
there may be as many as eighteen members on each one of the fair 
boards. That s a lot of bulk, a lot of people, and there aren t 
any specific qualifications for fair boards. So that s sort of at 
a lower level. But if you get up to the judicial appointments or 
the board of education or things like that, we would go after people. 
We also tried to accumulate minority appointments and to a certain 
extent women, although that was not a big issue at that time. 

So it s a combination of who you know and who you can talk 
to and then trying to filter out the stuff that came at you. You d 
have big campaigns; we d get a hundred letters for one person. 
You could learn very quickly it was kind of an organized campaign. 
The legislators had opinions about persons. You just sorted through 
it all, tried to make some sort of sense out of it, tried to get 
other recommendations, and tried to figure out what their 
qualifications were. 



Glaser: Did you personally feel pressure? 



Sloes: Yes. I like pressure and I am not terribly easily swayed by pressure. 
But, yes, there is a lot of pressure and people did try to take you 
out to lunch and things like that. I guess I was in a sense 
constitutionally very well prepared for that job. I just never 
accepted things. I Just never occurred to me that I wanted to, so 
I never felt very torn. 

The governor got a lot of pressure directly. I did get a lot 
of pressure. I have a letter, which I will show you, in my scrap- 
book that was written to me by a man who had called me up and gave 
me a haircut about "I don t understand why you don t appoint so-and-so, 
he s an obvious choice, he s been selected by our state senator, 
and why wouldn t you do what our state senator did?" 

I said, "Now, wait a minute. The state senator wants this 
guy, the assemblyman wants this other guy, the organization of 
environmental groups wants this other guy, and the real estate 
people want this other guy, and it s not simple." 

He said, "Oh, I m so sorry I called you." Then he wrote me 
this terribly clever letter about all the pressures I must be under, 
a very charming letter which I always treasured because he was the 
only person who was ever sympathetic. [Laughter] But there was a 
lot of pressure and it never bothered me very much. 

Glaier: Toward the end of Governor Brown s last term of office, was there a 
feeling that he had lost power because with each appointment he had 
made enemies of those who didn t get the appointment, so that these 
people tended to work against him? 

Sloss: Well, I think the story is certainly true that you don t really make 

friends when you make appointments, and I m sure that the appointments 
were more Important than positions that he d taken on hundreds and 
hundreds of issues. But I think it probably contributed in some way 
to that. I m sure there were many, many appointments that people 
thought showed he didn t have good judgment, or whatever. 

Glaser: Toward the end of the second administration he made a lot of 

judicial appointments for Southern California. Were you in on 
that? 

Sloss: Yes. There were two things that were happening at once. During 

the campaign, as I recall, at a certain point Governor Brown stopped 
making judicial appointments because he felt he didn t want to be 
accused of being political. He didn t even want to allow himself 
to make appointments, particularly the judicial appointments, that 
are made because they would help in the campaign. So he just didn t 
make any appointments, probably from the summer on, but I don t 
remember exactly when he stopped. 



4a 
JOHN BOIT MOUSE 

PEBBLE BEACH 
CALIFORNIA 



r 

March 3 




Dear Mrs Sloss: 

I ve never talked to an appointments 
secretary before. 

It occurs to me that you may well have 
the worst job in the world. From a 
socialogical point of view, perhaps 
the most fascinating. I daresay that 
you are no stranger to cunning, self- 
seeking, chicanery, fraud, collusion, 
threat and good old-fashion bilky, 
hornswoggling flimflam. 

Our situation here, is sinr le. The party 

rte:*-. 
has only one proven^asset to wit: Senator 

Parr and his considerable and devoted 
f ol lowing . 

You have, my rleer " : rs Sloss, my deepest 

s iinoathies. 
d 




Sloss: In addition to that, the legislature had established a number of 

new judicial districts. So when the campaign was over in November 
we had an enormous backlog of unappointed and brand new districts. 

Glaser: This is November 66 you re talking about when he was defeated by 
Reagan? 

Sloss: Yes. In November 66 almost everybody on the staff began to move 
out into other jobs because there was no new legislative program, 
there was very little speech or press work or any of that. 

I really worked terribly, terribly hard through November and 
into December. I don t remember I used to know how many hundreds 
of judicial appointments we made. A lot of times the Governor took 
a municipal court judge and elevated him to a superior court vacancy. 
So then we had the municipal court vacancy. So it was more than the 
original vacancies as people began to be moved around. It was all 
through a period when other staff were leaving or involved in the 
transition with the Reagan people, but the appointments section was 
working up to the last minute. Other members of the staff came and 
helped also because we had so much to do. We tried to fill all the 
judicial appointments before the Governor left, and I think we did. 

Glaser: Was there anything political in this, insofar as it occurred at this 
particular time aside from the population increase? 

Sloss: You mean that there were so many vacancies? 

Glaser: Right, in that he appointed them at this particular time after losing 
the election. 

Sloss: It was the combination of holding off in the last months of the 

campaign because he felt that would be too political. So that was 
a political decision at that time. He did not want to be making 
judicial appointments in the heat of the campaign and so they were 
postponed. Does that answer the question? 

Glaser: Yes. Which do you think were Governor Brown s most important 

appointments and which do you think were the ones that caused him 
the most trouble? 

Sloss: I think the judicial and the state board of education and regents 

are probably the most important appointments that he made. They re 
also the ones that I had the least to do with. 

He got into terrible problems over supervisorial appointments. 
It s a terrible appointment. I don t know if it s right for the 
governor to appoint, but supervisors are elected unless there is a 
death or a vacancy in midterm and then it is up to the governor to 



Sloss : appoint. Because those are usually hotly-contested political races, 
it was very, very clear that he could never do the right thing. 

Glaser: Are you talking about the county supervisors? Is this a function of 
the governor? 

Sloss: Only the event of a vacancy and then they have to run in the next 
election. It s not very well known because it doesn t happen very 
often. But we had about five or six of them that I remember vividly 
in the time I was there, and they were all horrors. The pressure 
was terrible and the choices were difficult. Whether those got him 
into serious trouble or not, they caused trouble at the time and 
left some ill feelings. 

One of them was in Alpine County and there probably were not 
more than fifty Democrats in Alpine County, so it shouldn t have 
been that big an issue. Also I remember there was a vacancy in 
San Mateo County. There were several candidates, each one with 
vigorous supporters. One was a sports figure whose supporter said 
he could win the election because he was well known. The organized 
Democrats supported someone else because he had been active in the 
party. The person he appointed subsequently lost the election to 
the Republican, so no one was happy. 

I don t know how significant they were, frankly. There were 
other appointments which obviously got him into hot water, but I 
don t remember what they were. They seemed to blow over. There were 
many appointments that made people mad at the time. I can remember 
legislators getting mad at us for appointments of people who had 
opposed them politically, particularly in a judicial area, when I 
think the governor tried very hard to make appointments on merit 
without political consideration. So he ran into political 
difficulties. 

Glaser: Were you involved with the appointment when Swede Nelson left as 
director of natural resources and was replaced by Ian Campbell? 
Was this perhaps before you 

Sloss: It could have been before my time. Swede Nelson is a very familiar 
name, but I think Hugo Fisher was the head of the natural resources 
at the time I was there. He is a former state senator who was 
defeated and was appointed, I think, before my tenure. But an 
appointment like that I would have practically nothing to do with. 
That was a higher-level appointment my input was modest. And that 
being an administrative job, the campaign was not waged in a normal 
way. So I don t remember Ian Campbell at all. 



Glaser: Who was involved with Fisher s appointment you said that was a higher 
level than yours the executive secretary? 

Sloss: He might have been, but basically I would say that the Governor sort 
of knew who he wanted. 

Glaser: He didn t need too much input? 

Sloss: Well, I don t know. I m sure that the executive secretary or Hale 
Champion in the Department of Finance who I think continued to be 
an adviser of the governor even after he was executive secretary 
discussed it with him. And I m sure other people discussed it with 
him too. But it was not advice that I gave him on that kind of an 
appointment because the candidates were people who were well known 
to him already. So he didn t really need to know who supported 
or who didn t support them. 

Glaser: When somebody like Stanley Mosk was appointed justice of the State 
Supreme Court, this was a little higher level than that which you 
dealt with? 

Sloss: I would deal with it on a technical basis in terms of the papers 
and submitting it to the bar. But Stanley Mosk was someone the 
governor knew very, very well, and I assume, for many reasons was 
determined to make him a judge. And he certainly didn t ask my 
opinion about whether that was a good appointment. He may not 
have asked anybody s opinion, I don t honestly know, but that 
was not a level at which I brought him candidates because he knew 
the candidates. 

There might be municipal judgeships where I would go to him and 
say, "Look, Jack Smith has got all this support and the two 
assemblymen want him and the state bar says he is well qualified 
and somebody else has called about him. On the other hand, there s 
this other man " If they were people he didn t know already, most 
probably, he would interview them and I would set up the interviews 
for him. But when it came to people that he knew personally, he 
didn t ask my opinion, and in the very high-level positions they 
were largely people he knew already. 

Glaser: Even knowing these people, would he have been likely to discuss this 
with others? I understand he was a man who often turned to others 
for their reactions. 

Sloss: I think on judicial appointments he talked to the chief justice and 
other experienced Judges and lawyers and asked their evaluations and 
suggestions. On other appointments he might talk to the head of the 
relevant state board or somebody like that; someone I didn t know 
but he knew directly. He probably would not turn to his staff on 



8 



Sloss: on judicial appointments if they weren t judges or lawyers. He was 
sort of interested, for instance, in asking a sitting judge, "Well, 
you had this lawyer come before you, what did you think of him as a 
practicing attorney?" That kind of an opinion. But only he would 
know. 

Other appointments, such as the department heads that you were 
talking about before, he would have talked to Hale or Fred Button or 
Winslow Christian or whoever, and also people out in the real world 
who were related to that area. He knew so many people, and he certainly 
was not reluctant to pick up the phone and ask people questions and 
consult with them. But I frankly didn t have any input on that. I 
didn t know more than he did about it. 

Glaser: You make this sound like a very personal involvement on his part. 

Sloss: I think it was. 

Glaser: Then he pretty much knew ahead of time who he would appoint? 

Sloss: Well, I think sometimes, for instance, there would be an attorney or 
a young judge that he knew for some reason. So in the back of his 
mind he d think, "Now that was a very impressive guy." Then a 
vacancy would come in the district and he d say to me, "Nancy, you 
find out about Joe Smith. See what so-and-so and so-and-so think 
about him." But there were a lot of appointments where he didn t 
know ahead of time. A lot of people had access to the governor, 
met with the governor and would go in and lobby him. I m sure that 
financial contributors, legislators and political leaders talked to 
him about appointments people like Eugene Wyman, who he was fairly 
close to, and Roger Kent and Libby [Smith Gatov] and Alan Cranston 
or Stanley Mosk when he was attorney general. They wouldn t go 
through me; they would pick up the phone and call him directly. 
People would only go through me if they didn t have direct access 
to the governor. 

Glaser: You took over from May Layne? Is that right? 

Sloss: May Layne Bonnell was her name when she was there, and she has since 
married again. 

Glaser: I think it is Davis now. 
Sloss: She was Mrs. Brown s sister. 



II WHO WAS WHO IN THE EDMUND G. BROWN ADMINISTRATION 



Glaser: Why don t I give you this list, and in addition to giving me your 
reactions as to who is important, you might give some idea of 
questions to ask. 

Sloss: [Examining list] Arthur Alarcon was the executive secretary for a 
relatively short period of time, so whatever was going on in that 
period he would know about. See Don Bradley for the campaigns; I 
think he has terrific memory. He was involved in 62 and 66. 
Ralph Brody, of course, particularly about the water project. That 
was a very controversial issue and I think the Governor took a lot 
of knocks over that, and Brody would really know a lot. 

Glaser: Did you have any appointments to make after that was signed into 
law? 

Sloss: There must have been water boards. For that kind of appointments 

probably we would have taken recommendations from people like Ralph. 
I honestly don t remember. There s a lot I don t remember. 

Hale Champion is now with the Department of Health, Education, 
and Welfare. He was hired as the first press secretary; he was only 
very peripherally involved in the 1958 campaign. But he was the 
first press secretary and then he became the executive secretary and 
then he became the director of finance. I think, in terms of the 
gubernatorial years, he was close to Pat Brown and there was a 
continuity about it. He was there the whole time even though he was 
in different positions. So anything to do with the gubernatorial 
years, Hale would be fantastic. 

Glaser: He was closer than Button? 

Sloss: No, but Dutton left in 1960 and came to Washington, so Hale provides 
that continuity. Fred came in before the 58 campaign, and went from 
the campaign into the governor s office, and was tremendously close. 



9a 



STATE OF CALIFORNIA 

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT 



<j\now <Jui 



J.kese ^Presents: 



Tiat I, EDMUND G. BROWN, Governor of tke State of California, 
do hereby appoint 





1 



to te 





yyhereof 7 I nave hereunto set my hand and caused the 
Great Seal of the State to he affixed at Sacramento, this j"LTSt 
day of ^Marcfa nineteen hundred and 



-*fv 

i 






7. ^ r r " 




I/in ri/iur o/ fn* <S*/iifr o/ Califo\nift 



By tne Governor 



u 



o/ iSt 



10 



Sloss: Wlnslow Christian was the last executive secretary. He was a judge 
in a small Northern county, very active politically, and was brought 
in as the first chief of the Health and Welfare agency and then moved 
over to become the executive secretary. He lasted to the end. 

Warren Christopher has just come to Washington. He s the number 
two guy in the State Department, appointed by President Carter just 
appointed. Chris would be particularly good, if you could get to 
him, for the early years. 



Sloss: Warren Christopher and Bill Coblentz were recruited by Fred Button 

in the 58 campaign to develop issues, position papers, and research 
of that kind. They both went into the governor s office and helped 
develop that first legislative program in 1959, which was a very 
full and successful program. Then after that first year or two years 
they left and went back Chris to Southern California and Bill to 
Northern California. They were both lawyers and they went into law 
practice. I think they remained in touch. They would be someone the 
governor might call from time to time, but they were off the staff. 
The key issues to talk to them about are the development of the first 
legislative program the issues that they focused on and how they 
lobbied it through because they were responsible for that whole 
thing. 

Ed Constantlni teaches at Davis now and he worked on the middle 
campaign, the 62 campaign, and then was sort of an education 
specialist not terribly long, as I recall. 

[U.S. Senator] Alan Cranston would be terrific. I don t know 
how the founding of the California Democratic Council comes into this 
whole picture. That s sort of a separate issue in a sense. But if 
you re covering the Democratic party s evolution that would be 
important and Alan can certainly talk about the CDC. 

Glaser: It s almost like a renaissance. 

Sloss: It was a renaissance that has subsequently disappeared. Cranston was 
elected with Pat Brown in 58 as part of the ticket and went out with 
him as one of the tickets too as controllers. I think that Alan has 
been deeply involved in Democratic politics all of his life in 
California. So anything about the political history and political 
background of the Democratic party in California, Alan would be 
terrific. As controller he had his own responsibilities and his 
own Job and was not heavily involved with what we did in the 
governor s office. But he was a person who did come and bring to 
our attention people for appointments, for instance. But I would 
say he would be good on the evolution of the political party, the 
leadership of the political party, and various campaigns and that 
kind of thing. 



11 



Glaser: Would he have had anything to do with what went on when Clair Engle 
was so ill and unwilling to give up his Senate seat? 

Sloss: I honestly do not know the answer to that. But Libby Smith Gatov, 

Don Bradley, and Roger would be three people who were very, very close 
to Engle and would be able to tell you about that. And if you talk 
to Bradley, that s something that I would raise with Don, along with 
George Miller. 

Glaser: I wanted to ask you about the relationship between Alan Cranston and 
[then Speaker of the Assembly] Jesse Unruh. 

Sloss: Not too good. I would say that Alan represented the sort of CDC and 
the kind of liberal, intellectual, issues-oriented part of the party, 
and Jesse represented the hard-headed practical politician. I think 
they probably did not have a good relationship. I would assume that 
was true. I don t remember the details of any big blow-ups. At one 
point Jesse offered a bill that was seen as harmful to the CDC (I don t 
even remember the specific anymore) , and everybody was up in arms 
about it. Jesse is another interesting person and would present 
another view, I think, that would be interesting. 

Adrienne Sausset, who was his personal secretary 
Glaser: She s deceased. 

Sloss: Adrienne was his secretary before Pat Brown became governor and came 
with him to Sacramento as his personal secretary. Maryalice Lemmon 
is the one who sat out in front and handled the people who were 
waiting to see the governor and kept his appointment book. Adrienne 
also knew all of his old friends, so a lot of that sort of personal 
contact with old friends was handled by Adrienne. Eve Estoja, 
because she worked for Adrienne (she was kind of an assistant to 
Adrienne) , would know something about his personal friends and 
things like that. 

Cecil Poole, an interesting guy. Again, he was part of that 
first group that went to work for the governor in 1959. 

Tom Rees has left the Congress. He s no longer a Congressman. 
He may be back in L.A. He d be an interesting guy. I think he fought 
with the governor sometimes and helped the governor; he would have an 
objective view about the governor and his relationship to the 
legislators of his own party. 

Tom Saunders was the other name that I was thinking of because 
he s someone I worked with in the 1958 campaign, and he would 
remember that 58 campaign. He d have a lot of details on that 
campaign. He did the putting together of events and things like 
that. But in 58 he was in the campaign. 



12 



Sloss: Pat Sikes works with the PG&E in San Francisco. I don t have her 
business phone number. She lives in Tiburon, 28 Marinaro Circle. 
She was a speech writer and researcher for the governor. I bet 
she s saved a lot of stuff and would have a very good memory of the 
period she was there, which was probably roughly 60 to 66. 

Jack Tomlinson was a young man who worked in the Department of 
Finance and is now an attorney in San Francisco. He would have some 
knowledge after 60. 

Louise Ringwalt is a good friend who works for Senator Cranston 
now and who worked with Roger Kent as administrative assistant, 
secretary, at 212 Sutter. She came into the 66 Brown campaign. 
She was probably with Clair Engle in the 58 campaign. She came 
back and worked for Libby when Libby Gatov was appointed treasurer 
of the United States. Libby hired Louise as her personal assistant. 
If you wanted to ask her about seing Cranston, she is actually on the 
staff of his Senate health sub-committee. She knows the people 
around there. I know her better than anyone else on the senator s 
staff, although I also know his press secretary. 

Glaser: There s somebody else who was mentioned to me just today, 
Meredith Burch. 

Sloss: She works right here. 
Glaser: How knowledgeable is she? 

Sloss: Extremely. I would say that Meredith s knowledge is largely during 
the period of Fred Button s, from the beginning of the 1958 campaign. 
Meredith was an assistant to Fred. When Fred left the governor s 
office in 1960 and came to Washington to work for John Kennedy, 
Meredith went with him, worked with him while he was in the White 
House and then in the State Department. In 1966, when after the 
primary Fred came back into that campaign with him. 

Meredith is as knowledgeable as I am. Her title in the governor s 
office was as special assistant to Fred, I think, but she worked on 
appointments as well as other things during 1959 and 1960. But for 
the 1958 campaign and for the first two years in the governor s 
office, she d be terrific. She knows better than I people like 
Warren Christopher, Billy Coblentz, and Alex Pope (whose name is 
not on here) because they were part of that 58 to 60 group that 
I am not part of. I didn t come to the governor s office until 
1961, after Meredith had left. They lost in Meredith a good 
political head. And they needed someone for that. Fred and everyone 
who had been in the campaign were gone. 



13 



Sloss: I think Dick Tuck would be a very important person. I think he would 
bring a dimension that you re not going to get from anybody else an 
insight into Pat Brown, an insight perhaps into Fred Button, the 
1958 campaign, the early Sacramento years. Button had some interesting 
insights into Pat Brown. 



14 



III A WORKING VIEW OF GOVERNOR BROWN 



Sloss: Stylistically the Governor and Fred are quite different, because 
Pat Brown is not an incisive intellectual. He has good instincts 
and he stirs around and sort of finds the right way, while Fred has 
such a sharp, clear mind and, I think, sees things more keenly. 

Here is my memorabilia. As I say, you can have anything you 
want. That is not terribly interesting and I kept it only because 
it happened to be about me. It is a piece that was written by some 
social secretary and you can have it. [Hands over clipping from 
San Francisco Examiner] It s very superficial. She wrote this 
sort of trash because I had nothing to say, so she tried to force 
me to say things about my personal I was just a boring person to 
interview. [Break in tape] 

Glaser: Did you tell me that nobody remembers you in the 58 campaign? 
[Laughter] 

Sloss: I don t think people remember me in the 58 campaign because I was 
a very low-level operator. Fred Dutton would remember me from the 
58 campaign, but the governor would not have known that I was alive 
in 1958. I think if you asked him he would probably say that I 
wasn t in the 58 campaign, because he didn t know me until I came 
to Sacramento. That wasn t until 61. 

When I first came to Sacramento, when May Bonnell was the 
appointment secretary and I was working on the schedule and 
invitations, I had absolutely no contact with the governor. I 
made a lot of decisions but the travel secretary would go in and 
say, "Well, Governor, you have these four choices and we recommend 
you go here and here," and the governor would say yes or no. I 
was scared of the governor at that point. Dick Kline was the travel 
secretary, and he d say, "You go in and talk to him about it, Nancy. 
You know more about it than I do. You re the one who talked to the 
people. You ve seen the invitations. Why should I go in and 
discuss it?" 



14a 





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15 



Sloes: I said, "Oh, no, I don t want to go in and talk to the governor," and 
I wouldn t do it. Two years later (if it was two years; I ve 
forgotten and I d have to go back and look), Winslow Christian was 
the executive secretary and he encouraged me to take the appointment 
secretary job. May was being appointed to the personnel board and he 
encouraged me to take May s job. I was terrified and I didn t think 
I could do it, and he said, "Nancy, you re always saying that you 
can t do it. Of course you can do it." 

The governor I was just a person he saw in the hall then, and 
I don t know how much he really knew about what I was doing. He was 
always very warm and "hello there," but I don t think he even knew 
my name. On the other hand, the appointments job was a very personal 
job and we developed a close relationship because it wasn t something 
where you sat at meetings and a lot of people threw ideas around. It 
was a very one-to-one situation. Because his first appointments 
secretary had been someone he already knew, a member of the family, 
he was used to having that kind of relationship. We often used to 
do business over breakfast. He used to invite me to the mansion. 
I d say, "Oh, you ve got to make these decisions, the deadline s 
coining up." He was busy during the day. 

He d say, "Come over for breakfast and we ll talk about it 
at breakfast." That s really how we became friends, because if you 
sit and have breakfast with someone you always get sidelights and 
little subtleties and we did become friends. 

Then I would leave and go on the campaigns. I left the 
governor s office to go on the 62 campaign, and then I left again 
in 66 because my background was politics. In 62 I had been doing 
schedules and invitations, and all of those decisions sort of moved 
out of the governor s office and into the campaign. So all I did was 
take what I d done before and what I was an expert at and move it into 
the campaign and do it there. It s different ramifications, maybe 
different criteria, but basically it s the same job I was already 
trained and doing. So it was a very logical thing. Also, because 
I d come out of politics and the CDC, I was known to the political 
managers and so they were comfortable with me. 

Then the same thing happened again in 66. They just took the 
invitations office with me, and Louise Ringwalt at that time came 
down, and we ran it out of Los Angeles. So it was very logical. 

I hope I recall accurately, but I remember a conversation with 
the governor at one of these breakfasts where we were talking about 
George Christopher. He was telling me, "Everybody tells me that it s 
better to runagalnst Reagan and it will be to our advantage if 
Christopher loses in the primary and we have Reagan as an opponent. 
But I m not sure, I m not sure that s right. But everybody agrees. 
Everybody agrees." 



16 



Sloss: The impression he certainly gave me in that conversation was that all 
the wise heads he respected (I don t even know that he mentioned 
names, I m sure that he didn t mention names) agreed that Reagan 
would be easier to beat and that he had doubts about it. Not serious 
doubts, but doubts. 

Glaser: In your contacts with him, did you find him wishy-washy? 

Sloss: [Pause] No, I don t think so. He was pretty decisive about 

appointments. I m sure there were some yes, there were some where 
he was indecisive. And there were some where he knew him his heart 
what was the right thing to do as opposed to what was the easy thing 
to do, and he would say, "I don t know. This guy seems to be better, 
but this guy s got more support. I think maybe I better appoint this 
guy." 

Then I d remind him, "But that would mean ignoring these facts 
or problems?" 

"Well, maybe you re right." 

But I wouldn t categorize it as wishy-washy because it was 
a balancing of things where it was not clear cut and very easy. I 
think one of the things about Pat Brown that I thought was terrific 



Sloss: He was an enthusiast and if you ever had an idea, even a crazy idea, 
and you d say, "What about this?" 

He d say, "Terrific. Find out more about it. Come back and 
tell me about it. Explore it." He was never a "Well, I don t 
think that will work" type; he was an enthusiast. 

It was a wonderful job for me. It was wonderful because I did 
not feel held down. I think that in a sense the other side of that 
coin could be indecisiveness or nonautocratic. He wasn t a person 
saying, "This is the way it s going to be and I want to do it." 
He was open to ideas and as soon as you re open to ideas in a 
complicated issue there are two sides. 

Everybody cites the Chessman case and I was not there, and if 
I had been there I wouldn t have been involved. I m sure that was 
a harrowing experience for the people who went through it. But some 
of the times when he was "wishy-washy" it was because he did see 
both sides. He saw that there was a value here and there was a value 
there, and he was a feeling and caring person. Of course, I m an 
enthusiast and I must say that I had a wonderful, wonderful career 
out of that. People I don t want to get snidish about females 

Glaser: Why not? 



17 



Sloss: I don t think It s necessarily relevant. But there were certainly no 
I never felt that I was held back because I m a woman. I took a job 
that had been held by a woman and so I wasn t breaking any new ground 
in that regard, although it reverted to a man under Reagan and 
probably had been a man under Knight. I don t even know. I think 
I was probably not paid as well as the men, but I m sure it was not 
considered a comparable job. I don t know. But from my own personal 
point of view, it was just a wide, open-ended career ladder that you 
could climb up. 

I started out, as I say, in the campaign where I m sure the 
governor does not to this day know that I was in the campaign, and 
I ended up feeling that I had some influence. We are still friends 
and I do see him from time to time when he comes to Washington. He 
calls me and he calls Meredith. We have dinner together or lunch. 

Anyway, it was a terrific experience for someone like me who 
was a generalist and had no specific skills; everything sort of 
opened up and sailed ahead. I think the job I had was a responsible 
job even though I might not have told him who to appoint to the bench 
or something. There was still an enormous amount of boards and 
commissions that had some impact on people s lives that I had the 
responsibility for, helping him to select the right person. 

Glaser: Did you go out and seek input? I know that you talked about how a 
large amount of this came to you, but I wondered to what extent you 
went out for input. 

Sloss: Unfortunately, very little. I think that s a mistake. The whole 
talent search thing was something we were really trying to get a 
handle on. I don t think we did a creative job of outreach or whatever 
the heck it s called involving people because we were so inundated 
with people. You might make phone calls, call people up and ask 
for suggestions and advice. But as far as going around, I never 
traveled very much to recruit or anything like that. It was just 
not a part of the job and hadn t been before me and I didn t make 
any changes. 



I came back here [Washington] and looked at the talent 
search operation set up by the Johnson people, because it was 
very highly touted and it was supposed to be so nifty and 
progressive and everything else. And I wasn t that impressed. 
They were impressed by what we did with the staff that we had, in 
terms of the number of appointments we had to make. They had a lot 
of computerized stuff which we never had but started to talk about 
doing because the filing and retrieval of files for any particular 
position was horrendous. You had miles of files on any one position 
and it was very, very hard to keep all that stuff. It took up 
so much space and we did start to computerize, but I don t know 
what happened after we left. 



17a 

of (Talifnrnia 

GOVERNOR S OFFICE 
SACRAMENTO 




November 28, 1966 



Miss Nancy Sloss 
1439 - 5th Street 
Sacramento, California 

My dear Nancy: 

This is to thank you, once again, for all you have done 
during our years together and to assure you, and anyone 
to whom you might apply in furthering your career, that 
you have my highest recommendation as a person and as an 
employee. 

Of all the jobs on my staff, I can think of none tougher 
than the one you did as appointments secretary. Scouting 
talented people to fill the posts at the Governor s disposal, 
keeping track of the potential nominees, matching the most 
able people to the vital jobs that had to be filled, and 
dealing diplomatically with those whose qualifications did 
not meet our standards : all of these tasks require 
intelligence, excellent judgment and determination. You 
demonstrated those qualities in full measure. I am 
grateful because you caused my job of making the final 
decisions to be much easier. I am grateful, too, because 
I have always wanted my administration to be remembered 
for the quality of its appointments, particularly our 
appointments to the bench. I think it will be and much 
of the credit goes to you. 

Beyond brains, skill and judgment, you have proved in this 
job and in the equally difficult task of scheduling my 
campaign appearances your capacity to take and manage 
responsibility. People told me that neither of these 
assignments was a job for a woman. You proved that they 



17b 



Miss Nancy Sloss 



-2- 



November 23, 1966 



just didn t know Nancy Sloss. You are one of the most 
talented people to come out of this administration and 
I know that you will find a new and challenging outlet 
for those talents. 

Wannest best wishes now and in the future. 



Sincerely 




EDMUND G. BROWN, Governor 





18 



Glaser: Can you say anything about the governor s relationship with the 
legislature? 

Sloss: I don t think I m very authoritative on that. I don t think I really 
know much about it. But I would say, generally speaking, the 
governor considered his role as the head of the party a lesser role. 
He saw his position as governor as the primary one. 

There was a lot of complaining that he did not do enough to 
strengthen the party through appointments, as well as through other 
things. Certain appointments were made because people would come to 
his attention through politics, that was one part of it. I don t 
think his relationship with the legislature I don t think they 
thought he was terrific. 

It is my understanding (but I don t know) that Warren and 
Knight just tried not to intervene and kind of let the legislature 
do what they wanted. Pat Brown came in in his first term with a very, 
very strong detailed legislative program, which sailed through. I 
think he saw the role of the governor s office as being one of not 
just responding to legislation that was initiated by the legislature 
but his own legislation, which he fought for. And it became harder 
and harder for him to find people to sponsor his bills. I view that 
as a somewhat inevitable conflict with those two different arms of 
government doing their own thing, which begins to be a stickier and 
stickier relationship. I assume he would not be known as a 
governor who had extraordinarily good relations with the legislature. 

The fact that Jesse Unruh was a very strong person and was the 
speaker of the assembly kind of created a natural conflict. I think 
Jesse was a powerful guy who knew how to use power and had his own 
ideas and was not about to just do what the governor wanted. Pat 
Brown was not about to do what Jesse Unruh wanted. They weren t 
widely varying in their long-range goals, but there were differences. 
But I m not really an authority about that because I didn t really 
work in the legislative end of it. 

Glaser: I know that, but I think that you were in a position to catch the 
drift of what was going on, and that s why I want to ask you about 
the Clair Engle matter. 

Sloss: Where was I? 

Glaser: He died in 64. 

Sloss: So it was 63 that all this was going on. 

Glaser: Maybe you re right. Toward the end of 63 they got an idea that he 
was sicker than they thought and wondered what to do about it was 



19 



Glaser: he going to run or resign. 

Sloss: My knowledge of it trickled down from people like Libby and Don 

Bradley and Roger, who cared a lot about the party and felt that it 
was the right thing to do, as I understood it, that Engle should 
step aside and create the vacancy and allow somebody to come in. 
Those people were very, very close to Clair Engle and I think they 
made an effort to make that happen. I heard second and even third- 
hand that his wife felt that the California politicians were trying 
to kill him and that all he had left was the hope that he could 
continue; if you took his senatorial position away from him he would 
have nothing left. 

The people I was close to were close to Clair Engle and fond of 
him, and they felt he should get out, and I think may have made 
efforts to persuade him. 1 think his wife was possessive about him. 
People have accused her I don t know, I never met the woman; I 
never met Clair Engle either, but I think she was protecting what she 
had and also what she felt her husband s personal state of mind was. 
Others were looking at it from a sort of a party position it was 
bitter. 

Did you have anything to do with Pierre Salinger s campaign? 

In 64 I took another leave of absence from the governor s office 
and went to Los Angeles and worked in the Johnson campaign office. 
Don Bradley at that time was working with Pierre Salinger s 
campaign. Actually I didn t have anything to do with that 
campaign because I was Involved in Johnson s at the same time. 

Another person if you re going to talk to Joe Cerell, you 
should talk also to his wife, Lee Cerell, because they both worked 
in a number of campaigns in Southern California. She went into the 
governor s office around the same time I did. She was the Southern 
California counterpart to me in the very beginning, the Southern 
California political person in the office, then she and Joe were in 
all of those Southern California campaigns. 

If you re talking to Joe you should talk to both of them. She 
worked with Don Bradley in the Salinger campaign. She probably was 
in the 62 Pat Brown campaign and she was certainly in the 66 
Pat Brown campaign. She did a lot of the fund-raising dinners and 
that kind of thing. Joe has his own public relations firm, doing a 
lot of political campaign work. They were both very close to Gene 
Wyman, who was a key figure as Democratic national committeeman. 
They knew Gene very, very well. 

Glaser: Did you know Len Gross? I understand his firm Gross and Roberts 
handled Proposition 14 on Fair Housing. 



Glaser: 
Sloss : 



20 



Sloss: I worked for them briefly, but not at that time. I had a very 
checkered career because I really worked on a freelance basis a 
lot. I worked for Gross and Roberts, and I ll be damned if I 
can remember what I did there. It wasn t for very long. I knew 
them both at that time. I don t remember Len Gross in Proposition 
14. I didn t work on Proposition 14, but several of my friends 
did. I don t remember if they were still Gross and Roberts. They 
eventually broke up, I think. 



Transcriber: Michelle Stafford 

Final Typist: Leslie Goodman-Malamuth 



21 



TAPE GUIDE Nancy Sloss 



Date of Interview: April 22, 1977 

tape 1, side A 1 

tape 1, side B 9 



22 



APPENDIX 



This is a list of the material which Miss Sloss donated to The Bancroft 
Library. The material details campaign activities for Edmund G. Brown, Sr. , 
and appointments. 

Itinerary, Tuesday, October 4, 1966 

Itinerary, Monday, October 17, 1966 

Alan Cranston s Confidential Schedule, Week of October 13-19, 1966 

Alan Cranston s Confidential Schedule, Week of October 20-25, 1966 

Itinerary, Wednesday, October 5 (no year given) 

Press Itinerary, Monday, October 17 (no year given) 

Itinerary, Week of October 17-23 (no year given) 

Memo to all fieldmen 

Governor Brown s Women Appointees (2 copies) 

Mexican American Appointees Governor Edmund G. Brown 

Negro Appointments 



23 



INDEX Nancy Sloss 



Alarcon, Arthur, 9 



Bradley, Don, 9, 11, 19 

Brody , Ralph , 9 

Brown, Edmund G., Sr. , 14-16 

appointment process, 3-4, 15-17 
county supervisors , 5-6 
fair boards , 3 
judicial, 3-5, 7-8 
legislative program, 9-10, 18 
staff personnel, 2, 9-13 
Burby, Jack, 3 
Burch, Meredith, 12 



California Democratic Council (CDC) , 10-11 

Cerell, Joseph (Joe), 19 

Cerell, Mrs. Joseph (Lee), 19 

Champion, Hale, 3, 7-9 

Chessman case. See death penalty 

Christian, Winslow, 8, 10, 15 

Christopher, George, 15 

Christopher, Warren, 10, 12 

Coblentz, William (Bill), 10, 12 

Constantini, Ed, 10 

Cranston, Alan, 8, 10-11 



Davis, May Layne Bonnell, 8, 14-15 

death penalty , 16 

Dutton, Fred, 2-3, 8-10, 12, 14 



election campaigns, state and national 

1958, 2 

1962, 15 

1964, 3, 19 

1966, 15 

Engle, Clair, 11, 18-19 
Engle, Mrs. Clair (Lu) , 19 
Estoja, Eve, 11 



Fisher, Hugo, 6 



24 



Gatov, Elizabeth Smith (Libby) , 8, 11, 19 
Gross and Roberts, 19-20 



Kent, Roger, 8, 11, 19 
Kline, Richard (Dick), 3, 14 



Lemon, Maryalice, 11 



media, newspapers, 14 
Mosk, Stanley, 7, 8 



Poole, Cecil, 11 

Pope, Alex, 12 

Proposition 14 (1964), 19-20 



Reagan, Ronald, 15-16 
Rees , Tom, 11 
Ringwalt, Louise, 12 



Salinger, Pierre, 19 
Saunders , Tom, 11 
Sausset, Adrienne, 11 
Sikes , Patricia (Pat) , 12 



Tomlinson, Jack, 12 
Tuck, Dick, 13 



Unruh, Jesse, 11, 18 
Vasconcellos, John, 3 
Wyman, Eugene (Gene), 8, 19 



Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 



Governmental History Documentation Project 
Goodwin Knight/Edmund Brown, Sr. , Era 



Meredith Burch 
POLITICAL NOTES 



An Interview Conducted by 

Eleanor Glaser 

in 1977 



Copyright (c\ 1982 by the Regents of the University of California 



TABLE OF CONTENTS Meredith Burch 



INTERVIEW HISTORY 

I THE FIRST CAMPAIGN, 1958 

Dutton-Tuck-Burch Triumvirate 
An Innovative Campaign 

II GOVERNOR BROWN S FIRST LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM 6 

III STAFF RESPONSIBILITIES 

IV WASHINGTON, D.C. 

Button and Burch in White House, then to State Department 10 

Governor Brown s Gridiron Club Speech 

V CHESSMAN CASE 

VI GOVERNOR BROWN S PARTY RELATIONSHIPS 17 

President Kennedy 
Clair Engle * 

George Miller, Jr. 

on 
VII 1966 GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN 

TV Film 21 

Mrs. Brown s Participation ~ 

A Negative Campaign 

VIII GOVERNOR AND MRS. BROWN IN OFFICE 

IX TRANSITION FOR FIRST ADMINISTRATION, 1958 

TAPE GUIDE 

31 
INDEX 



INTERVIEW HISTORY 



Meredith Burch acquired her training in governmental processes through a 
two-year internship with the Coro Foundation in San Francisco . This background 
was utilized in the 1956 Stevenson presidential bid when she, Fred Button* and 
Dick Tuck (also a former Coro Foundation intern) worked in the Stevenson campaign 
office in Los Angeles. This collaboration was the beginning of a long political 
relationship . 

Following the election, Fred Button joined Attorney General Pat Brown s 
staff as a deputy attorney general. As an advisor to Brown, Button was privy to 
Pat Brown s discussions regarding his political future. Since Button saw Brown s 
abilities best used as governor of California rather than in the U.S. Senate, he 
engaged Meredith Burch to send out robotyped letters to approximately three 
thousand Bemocratic party leaders. Ms. Burch relates that perhaps it was a less 
sophisticated time but everybody responded to these letters, discussed the 
problems of the state and for the most part recommended that Brown run for 
governor. In sending out the letters, Ms. Burch believes she was the first 
person hired for the Brown campaign. 

Once Pat Brown decided to run for governor, Fred Button became his campaign 
manager. For the first time the campaign was run on a unified state-wide basis 
with headquarters in San Francisco and without the traditional separation between 
northern and southern California. Ms. Burch still regards the 1958 campaign as 
a "classy," substantive campaign. Position papers developed for campaign speeches 
became the basis for the legislative program Governor Brown presented early in 
his administration. 

The evening before the inauguration the But ton- Tuck-Bur ch triumvirate marched 
into the governor s office to familiarize themselves with the facilities. One 
feels the relish of these successful, youthful campaigners in reading how they 
put their feet up on the governor s desk and began to punch buttons that moved 
walls and swung panels . 

In the governor s first administration, Ms. Burch was an assistant to 
Governor Brown, working on his appointments to boards and commissions. She and 
Fred Button left to work on the 1960 Kennedy campaign. Both went to Washington 
when Button received a White House appointment and Ms. Burch became his 
administrative assistant. She returned to California in 1965, working for the 
governor on the National Governors Conference held in Los Angeles. She then 
joined the governor s campaign staff for the 1966 election and was asked to 
accompany Mrs. Brown on her campaigning, handling her schedule and speeches. 



*See interview with Frederick G. Button for this series. 



ii 



It is apparent that Ms. Burch has reflected upon Pat Brown s governorships 
and campaigns, and in the interview she shares several personal insights. One 
is that luck is a commodity, a trait one possesses like the color of one s eyes. 
Also, that one can sense from a campaign headquarters how a campaign is faring 
and, even further, how the administration will function if the candidate is 
elected. 

During the 1966 campaign, Ms. Burch met Charles Guggenheim when he was 
brought in to do a TV film for the campaign. Since 1967 she has been a producer, 
researcher and writer for Guggenheim Productions. Nancy Sloss, production 
manager for the Guggenheim firm, made arrangements for this interview with 
Ms. Burch, which took place one week after her own interview for the Knight-Brown 
Oral History Project. 

We were interrupted several times by phone calls and by Mr. Guggenheim 
coming into the office with other staff members to use equipment stored in 
Ms. Burch s office. Ms. Burch introduced me to Mr. Guggenheim and suggested it 
would be worthwhile to talk to him about the 1966 campaign. Mr. Guggenheim 
agreed and his interview for the project is in process. 

Ms. Burch held the manuscript for a time before reviewing it. She made 
editorial changes to clarify her statements and to add information. 



Eleanor Glaser 
Interviewer /Editor 



8 April 1981 

Regional Oral History Office 

486 Bancroft Library 

University of California, Berkeley 



I THE FIRST CAMPAIGN, 1958 
[Interview: April 29, 1977] 

Button- Tuck-Bur ch Triumvirate 



Glaser: Tell me about what you were doing when you were an assistant to Mr. 
Button. 

Burch: I think my title was administrative assistant to the governor, but I 
basically worked for Fred. 

Glaser: When did you start, how did you start, how did you get this, what were 
you doing? 

Burch: It s probably necessary to back up. Since Fred s and my relationship 
with the governor was so tied together you do know how Fred and the 
governor became acquainted early on? 

Glaser: Yes, he saw some articles that Mr. Button wrote for a Los Angeles paper. 

Burch: Right. Bick Tuck and I were in Los Angeles working on the Stevenson 
presidential campaign when Governor Brown inserted Fred into the mix. 
I think he was called the executive director. There were campaign 
problems and Fred was slid in to solve them. So Bick Tuck and Fred and 
I began then what turned out to be a fairly long relationship. That 
far back. 

Fred, as you probably know, was an attorney for the Southern County 
Gas Company at that time. The governor was then attorney general. 
After that campaign, Fred joined the attorney general s office as a 
deputy attorney general, and was also giving, I d say, substantial 
amounts of political advice to then Attorney General Brown. Governor 



//#This symbol indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has begun or 
ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 30. 



Burch: Brown at that time was, as you remember (I m sure other people have 
discussed it), very torn as to whether he should run for governor or 
whether he should run for the U.S. Senate. Fred and a number of people 
felt that clearly he should run for governor, that it was the position 
that would utilize what he did best. But there were others among the 
governor s political advisers Ed Pauley, I remember for one who thought 
they d rather have a Senator. 

Fred was very clever. He had a notion that a letter, a personal, 
actually robo typed letter, should be sent out to all party leaders 
(I think we had a list of, say, three thousand) signed by Attorney 
General Brown. In this he would solicit their advice as to how he 
should proceed politically in the next few months. Fred s reasoning 
was that most people would reply that he should run for governor. 

I was the first person hired to work on the campaign, and I 
organized the mailing of that letter. I don t know how I was paid. In 
those days we were not as careful. I may have been put on somebody s 
payroll, or perhaps the Democratic State Committee s. Maybe we formed 
some sort of an "Interim Committee for whatever Pat Brown Might Do." 
Anyway, we sent the letter out. Somewhat ironically, the same week 
Pat was vacationing on Coconut Island, which was Ed Pauley s island. 
Fred was concerned because he knew Ed Pauley was whispering in Pat s 
ear that he should be running for the Senate. Fred was very concerned 
that other people whisper in Pat s ear that he should run for governor. 
So the letter went out while Pat was vacationing, and when he came back 
there was a deluge of responses . It was curious because you would 
think that people in positions of political leadership would be some 
what sophisticated about a letter like that. Maybe we weren t as 
sophisticated in 1957 as we are now about robotype mail, but the response 
was wonderful. 

Almost everyone we wrote to sent a personal letter back, many of 
them quite long and thoughtful, outlining what they felt the problems 
were in California and what Pat should do. And the overwhelming 
sentiment was that he should run for governor. The letters were all 
dumped on his desk and I think it probably had an effect. I don t 
think, obviously, that was the single reason. But I think the governor 
was struck by this great outpouring of feeling suggesting he could best 
serve the party and the state as governor. 

Glaser: So once he did decide to run in the primary, everything must have moved 
very fast. 

Burch: That s right. The main political campaign headquarters with Fred as 

campaign director, was in San Francisco. Probably I m covering ground 
that everybody s covered endlessly. 

Glaser: Don t worry about that. 



An Innovative Campaign 



Burch: 



Glaser: 
Burch: 






Glaser: 

Burch: 

Glaser: 



All right. That campaign was extremely interesting (probably Fred has 
discussed this with you, or maybe he s too modest) for a number of 
reasons but two in particular that I recall. It seems silly now, but 
I think it was the first time that a political campaign in California 
had been run on a state-wide basis. Northern California and southern 
California had traditionally been very separate bailiwicks. There was 
a northern California chairman, and a southern California chairman with 
little or no communication between them. 

The Democratic party was much stronger, in a financial and organi 
zational sense, in northern California, although obviously hardly 
anyone lives there. As Dick Tuck was fond of saying, half the population 
of California lives south of Van Nuys Boulevard. Of course, that s 
true and it had always been the case of the tail wagging the dog. For 
that reason the governor s main headquarters was in San Francisco 
because that s where the main financial base was, or seemed to be at 
that time. 

But the campaign was a state-wide campaign, with Fred running it; 
both north and south. It seemed avant-garde in those days, although 
it s probably standard procedure now, but we had a teletype machine in 
the northern and southern California headquarters so press releases were 
coordinated and issued simultaneously north and south. This all seems 
obvious now but it was quite revolutionary. I think it was mainly the 
force of Fred s ideas and his energy that it all came about. 

Tell me specifically what you did and what Fred did. 

Fred was the campaign manager and directed everything. He was not 
particularly interested in organization; he was interested in media. 
He was interested in substance, what the campaign was about. He was 
interested in what the governor did and said and also in fund raising. 
Of course, a campaign has to have "organization" because it makes 
everybody nervous if you don t. That was the area that Fred least 
attended to. But as far as determining the substance and strategy of 
the campaign and the media, he was quite dominant. Jesse Unruh was 
southern California chairman and obviously a very aggresive southern 
California chairman, and they worked closely together. 



Dick Tuck was the sort of have you talked to Dick yet? 



No. 



Oh, that will be a treat. He s the best of all of us to talk to you. 
That s what Fred Dutton said. 






Burch: No question about it. He is the most perceptive he loves the 

governor and he has a unique perspective. But anyway, Dick was the 
travel secretary. Dick was the governor s constant companion. He was 
sort of a jack of all trades looked after the press, briefed him and 
made sure the governor didn t leave his briefcase behind, wrestled away 
people who wanted to importune him. It was much simpler then. Dick 
handled all those kinds of things that now California governors 
probably have fleets of persons to look after. 

Glaser: You probably look back on that as a pioneer effort. 

Burch: Well, I think it was. For all of us for Fred and for me it was our 
first time out of the box. Dick had been in several campaigns before, 
but Fred hadn t. The Stevenson campaign was his first campaign. Yes, 
I think we were all conscious that we were doing some new things, not 
only new things for us but new things in California. 

Glaser: Running a campaign in a different way. 

Burch: Yes. 

Glaser: What did you do, Meredith? 

Burch: I was an assistant to Fred. I can t really remember what I did. I was 

trying to think about it. I knew you d ask. I really was just a general 
assistant to Fred rather than having a line of responsibility of my own. 

Glaser: How much input did you have into the running of the campaign? 

Burch: I would say not a great deal. I was very young and very I wouldn t say 
I was timid, but I can t imagine that I had or volunteered many expert 
opinions . 

Glaser: Were you just out of college? 

Burch: No, I was further away than that. Dick Tuck and I had a fellowship with 
something called the Coro Foundation.* Do you know what that is? 

Glaser: Yes. Are you a San Franciscan? 

Burch: No, I m from Eugene, Oregon, but I d come to San Francisco for that. I 
met Dick there and he sort of propelled me into politics and we worked 
a couple of campaigns together after Coro. 

Glaser: I take it Fred was more of a policy- input person. 



*A Coro Foundation fellowship provides two years of training in the 
field of governmental processes and their implementation. 



Burch: Yes. 



Glaser: How much did he have? 

Burch: I d say a tremendous amount. I don t want to sound like we invented 

the wheel, because perhaps lots of campaigns have been run intelligently. 
I just haven t ever worked on another campaign that I considered to be 
run as well as that 1958 California campaign. Now, it could be because 
the first thing you are involved in of importance and feel that you re 
kind of centrally located, maybe there s a certain aura about that that 
colors your perspective. But as you know, we make films here for political 
candidates and we see a lot of political campaigns. As the years go on 
I m ever more struck with the fact that that was a very classy campaign, 
particularly on the substantive side. 

For example, everyone has "task forces," often as a kind of window 
dressing. But we had real task forces that did real papers and people 
took them rather seriously. Fred set a lot of people in motion very 
early on in the campaign and the position papers the task forces 
generated didn t just rot away in the bottom drawers of files as they 
usually do in campaigns. They were translated into speeches and by the 
time the campaign was half-way along, Governor Brown had an eight point 
program. It was campaign rhetoric, surely, but it was also seriously 
intended as the basis of his legislative program and administrative 
program. I think we even had legislation being drafted during the 
campaign. So when the governor took office, he was ready. 

I think everyone felt that there hadn t been a Democratic governor 
since Culbert Olson, that it was important not only to move intelligently 
and well, but to move quickly to come on strong at the outset. 
Certainly that was Dick s view. We did, and I think it was a tribute to 
the work done during the campaign. 

The interregnum, which was just a nightmare I m sure the interreg 
nums are nightmares for everybody this was especially so because Fred 
went off on a holiday so the whole thing was chaotic. But it didn t 
really matter because so much groundwork had been laid, and the governor 
knew what he was about. I don t mean that there weren t a million 
things that he had to learn. [pauses to answer telephone] 



II GOVERNOR BROWN S FIRST LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM 



Burch: Where were we? I guess we were saying that the dialogue of the campaign 
was real in terms of what the governor had in mind to accomplish. He 
wasn t frozen into certain positions there are lots of things you just 
don t learn, I am sure, until you walk in that office and face those 
responsibilities but because there had been this massive "research and 
development," I guess it would be called, there was a coherency and he 
was ready to present his legislative program to the legislature very 
early without having to paste things together that were hastily 
conceived. I would guess that he was I don t know, I haven t been in 
other gubernatorial campaigns but I have a feeling that he was probably 
unusually well prepared. 

Glaser: I want to ask you about the state water plan. It s my impression that 

Governor Brown was not in favor of it but felt it was a campaign promise 
and that he had to do a lot of trading in order to get it passed. 

Burch: I don t think that s true. The second part is true. I am not an 

expert on this and there are a lot of people who know a great deal more 
about the water plan than I. I was under the impression that he was 
very much in favor of it. Some of his advisers were not in favor of it 
and he did do a great deal of trading. It was considered the capstone 
of his administrative accomplishments. He sacrificed a lot for the 
water plan. There was a lot of trading. 

Glaser: Then my impression is wrong. 

Burch: I think he went through a lot of pushing and hauling people with people 

who had concerns about it. It s ironic. Nancy [Sloss]and I had dinner witl 
the governor I guess, five or six years ago and he was talking rather 
nostalgically. I m not going to get this right, but something to the 
effect that we nearly thought we did the right thing with the state 
plan for higher education and the water plan. He said, "We thought the 
water plan really was a significant achievement," then added, "Now we 
know it was probably a mistake." 



Glaser: 



Burch: 



Glaser; 



Burch : 



Glaser: 



Burch : 



Since he s from northern California, I wondered how much he really 
wanted to do this or whether the water plan was proposed in order to 
carry the southern part of the state. 



Those things probably get pretty well mixed in. 
California needed it. 



I think he thought 



Glaser: 
Burch: 



What did he do. People talk about the water plan more readily than the 
plan for higher education, and there was so much doing on in that 
period. 

You should talk to Hale [Champion] or someone who actually worked with 
it. 

Somebody said that it was Fred Button s baby something he was very 
involved in. 

I think Fred was very involved in that. I was in the governor s 
office only about five or six months when I took a leave of absence. 
(I had never had a long term job before and it made me rather nervous, 
frankly. So I took a leave of absence and was gone for six or seven 
months and then came back. So I ll blame all my lapses of memory on 
my absence.) 

You worked with Fred as his assistant? 

No, I really wasn t. I tended to work that way because I had been 
working with him so long that I saw myself as his assistant. But Fred 
made it very clear that I was hired as an assistant to the governor. 



8 



III STAFF RESPONSIBILITIES 



Glaser: What were you doing? 

Burch: Basically what Nancy did but not as fully handling the staff work on 
appointments to boards and commissions: patronage. 

Glaser: Were you there before she came? 

Burch: Yes. She came after I d gone. Fred and I left in the fall of 1960 to 
come work on the Kennedy campaign here. Fred was vice-chairman, as he 
probably told you, of the Citizens for Kennedy and I trucked along. 

Glaser: Where did you fit in with May Layne Bonnell? 

Burch: May and I worked together. She took over the position when I left. I 
worked on political things when I returned to the governor s office, 
working towards the 1960 convention. 

Glaser: What did Dick Tuck do in those first two years when you were around? 

Burch: It s the Peter Principle. Dick was absolutely brilliant when he was 
traveling with the governor on the road. He really is a jack of all 
trades. I don t think anyone else could have done the job the way he 
did. He kept an eye on the schedule, made sure the governor didn t 
get into awkward situations, and was wonderful with the press. But in 
the governor s office everyone had an assigned area, so Dick was made 
the travel secretary and put in charge of the calendar. He still 
continued to travel with the governor, which was terrific. But I think 
Dick would be the first to say that his forte was not sitting down and 
evaluating and responding to thousands of letters from persons request 
ing the governor to attend their church bingo night or whatever, and 
that s what he was stuck with. So he was the travel secretary for 
awhile and a restless one, I must say. 

The funniest sounds and sights that we all recall from the 
governor s office was Dick s secretary rushing around the halls saying, 
"Has anyone seen Mr. Tuck? Has anyone seen Mr. Tuck?" And chasing 
after him down the halls saying, "Dick, Dick, Mr. Tuck, where are you 
going?" We all knew he was disappearing probably not to be seen for days. 



Glaser: Was he the court jester? 

Burch: No, I wouldn t say he was the court jester because Dick is very 

interested in the political process and has lots of ideas not only 
about what s politic and expedient but what s right. Dick was in part 
the court jester because he is so funny and we all loved him. But, no, 
he was a much more substantive person than that, and I think Fred would 
be the first to say that he was an influence on Fred and I think he 
influenced the governor. 

Glaser: Yes, Mr. Dutton said, "Oh, he s the best of all of us." 

Burch: Yes, it s true. He s a generalist and tends to "scatter shot." He 

didn t get involved in details. But he has great political instincts 
and, I think, great human instincts, and he has a gift for phrasing 
things . 

Glaser: What was the relationship with Hale Champion? 

Burch: Hale was press secretary and we were all friends and colleagues Hale, 
Jerry Maher, Bill Coblentz and everyone. But Dick and Fred and I had 
sort of grown up together. We d come through the 56 campaign and then 
the 58 campaign. Because of that history, the three of us did spend 
a lot of time together. 



10 



IV WASHINGTON, D.C. 



Dutton and Burch in White House, then to State Department 



Glaser: Then you left for the 60 campaign and came here to Washington, 
have a position within the Kennedy administration? 



Did you 



Burch: Yes, as you know, Fred became a Special Assistant at the White House. 
I went with him. I was one of his administrative assistants. 

Glaser: When Fred moved his second position was the 

Burch: The State Department. 

Glaser: But was the first one when he was secretary to the cabinet? 

Burch: Yes. 

Glaser: Then you moved with him to the State Department? 

Burch: Yes. 

Glaser: At what point did he leave? Was it after the assassination? 

Burch: No, it was before. As you recall, the President was very it s funny, 
we re doing a film for the John F. Kennedy Library. I m researching 
and working on a treatment for it, so I ve been reading tons of material 
about the early Kennedy days. In re-reading Arthur Schlesinger last 
night I was reminded of the President s incredible frustrations over 
the State Department. He felt that he had a handle on all of the 
agencies of government with the exception of the State Department, which 
just caused him to throw up his hands. 

So there was a great reshuffling. Fred was sent to the State 
Department. Dick Goodwin was sent to the State Department. Fred was 
the assistant secretary of state for congressional relations. Dick 
Goodwin had something to do with the Alliance for Progress. So Fred 
left before the assassination. 



11 



Glaser: When did he open a private law practice here? 

Burch: He left the State Department I left before he did to spend a year in 
Europe. He must have left the State Department in the summer of 64. 
I think he was the executive director of the Platform Committee for the 
64 convention so he may have left to undertake that. 

Glaser: How long have you been with Guggenheim Productions? 

Burch: Forever 1967. I met Charles when he was doing firms for Governor 
Brown in 66. 

Glaser: Are you the production manager here? 
Burch : No, Nancy Sloss is the production manager. 

Glaser: I think Fred Dutton said one of you is the office manager and one is 
the production manager. 

Burch: No, he s confused. I m a producer and a researcher and sometimes bad 
writer and Nancy is the production manager. She has been running the 
administrative side of the company. 

Glaser: Why don t I give you the list of the people to look over for your 

reaction to the names. Tell me if there s anybody that we ve missed 
that we should have, and also suggest questions for these people. By 
and large, this list was arrived at through suggestions from Pat Brown 
himself, plus some other advisors. 



Governor Brown s Gridiron Club Speech 



Burch: Warren Christopher one sidelight of Warren Christopher s job one of 
the first things that the governor did very early on, was to accept an 
invitation to address the Gridiron Club here in Washington. In those 
days the Gridiron Club seemed to really mean something; at least we all 
thought it meant something. There was this mystique that national 
reputations were made and broken based on a single performance before 
the Gridiron Club. 

There were seven hundred people involved in drafting the governor s 
remarks because he had to be very witty, and very au courant. Dore 
Schary and some other Hollywood people including whoever the hip 
comedians were at that time I suppose people like Red Skelton. I don t 
know, but all kinds of famous people with great reputations as humorists 
or gag writers were pressed into service. Thousands of man hours were 
devoted to the project. And Chris ended up actually writing the speech 
if there s anybody who appears more sobersided than Warren Christopher. 






12 



Burch: But it was a wonderful speech and the governor was a smash and felt 

terrific about it. However, I m sure that Chris does not consider that 
his greatest contribution to the Brown administration. [pause to look 
through list] 



13 



V CHESSMAN CASE 



Burch: Cecil and Dick. Cecil Poole and Dick would certainly be the two people 
to talk about Chessman. 

Glaser: And Dick Tuck? 

Burch: Yes. 

Glaser: What did he have to do with that? 

Burch: Fred and other members of the governor s staff finally negotiated a 
firm agreement with the governor not to intervene in the Chessman 
situation, an absolutely iron clad firm agreement that he would not do 
that. It had been discussed for weeks, literally day and night. I 
don t know who all was involved besides Fred and Dick, but when every 
body staggered out of the governor s mansion around 10:00 at night on 
the eve of Chessman s scheduled execution, Dick was left to stay with 
the governor until he went to bed. Dick had a girlfriend in tow and 
said he was getting sleepy. They had watched all the television 
programs and finally Dick too left the governor. The governor then 
called Jerry and everything got turned around, and 1 affaire Chessman 
took its final turn. 

Glaser: This sounds like a very minor point, but you spoke about the phone call 
with Jerry and so did Jack Burby. Yet when I spoke with Fred Dutton 
he said that Jerry was actually within the mansion. 

Burch: Well, he s wrong. But I would ask Dick to be sure. I wasn t there. 

My gosh, the story of the phone call was legendary. It was discussed, 
endlessly, for many considered Chessman the turning point of the 
governor s career. The governor himself regarded it that way. I had 
never heard before that Jerry was actually in the mansion that night. 

Glaser: So it was a phone call. Dutton said that he and Bernice Brown were up 
at Squaw for the start of the Winter Olympics, and Dick Tuck and Hale 
Champion were with the governor and Jerry. Then they left so it was 
the governor and Jerry Brown together in the big, sprawling mansion late 
at night, and they talked on and on for hours. 



14 



Burch: I could be and Fred was closer to it than I was, however I don t think 

that s correct. But Dick or Hale will know because they were physically 
present. I m strictly a second hand recaller so my recollections, 
while firm, are not necessarily well-grounded. 

Glaser: I think it was Mr. Burby who said that it was a phone call and Jerry 
was at the seminary and he put a priest on 

Burch: That is correct. 

Glaser: And the priest in effect said that his soul would be damned if he would 

Burch: No, I didn t know the priest got that strong 

Glaser: not commute the death sentence. 

Burch: I didn t know about that. I know that Jerry was very emotional about 
it 

Glaser: And that he was at the seminary at the time. That s how Burby heard 
it. 

Burch: That s how I ve always understood it. 

** 
Glaser: As you see it, what was the effect of the governor s action? 

Burch: Up until then the governor had a great cushion of affection and respect. 
But when things go well they go very well and when they go bad they 
go badly. The turn that the Chessman base brought about was incredible. 
Even people who voted against the governor, stuffy Republicans, had a 
warm feeling for the governor, it seemed. There was an atmosphere of 
good will, I think, throughout the state, and the Chessman case seemed 
to dissipate it overnight . 

When you re booed once, then you become the person to boo. 
Originally it would have been unthinkable to boo Governor Brown. But 
after the first booing it soon became as expected ritual, certainly at 
sports events. He could hardly go out. It was contagious. But I 
think it was a sad thing for him, especially at the Olympics, an 
international gathering. It was more than just being booed at a local 
baseball game. And the rafters rang. I think it was probably dreadful 
for him. 

When I was in the White House the governor came calling on the 
President once. He was waiting in the cabinet room and I went to talk 
with him. He was sort of philosophical and at one point said, "You 
know, I think my luck s run out." 






15 



Burch: I think the governor had always been cognizant of the fact that he 

was lucky. I think one should regard luck as a commodity, not as an 
ephemeral thing, but as a solid thing, as much a trait that someone 
possesses as honesty or blue eyes. And when you know you re lucky, it 
gives you a certain ease and license in the way you sashay around and 
so you become luckier. He hasn t said this himself but I always 
assumed that would be his theory. At least it s mine. He said, 
"You know, my luck ran out. First there was Chessman, and then you 
and Fred left me and I m just not lucky anymore." He was teasing 
a little. But not completely. 

Glaser: It was your sense of his vulnerability that comes through there, 
Burch : Yes . 

Glaser: Mrs. Fry, who is the head of this project, talked to Ed Salzman, the 
political reporter, and he didn t go along with the effect of the 
Chessman case on the Brown fortunes. He felt that Chessman happened 
before the primary and before the general election and still the 
governor was re-elected. That was the practical proof of the pudding. 
So it was not that destructive. 

Burch: Well, it may have been the practical proof of the pudding. But I not 
only think it affected the governor s psyche but also people regarded 
him differently. A man who s a well- regarded person is different from 
a man who is constantly booed by his fellow citizens. It doesn t mean 
you maybe won t vote for him, but he was tarnished. Obviously there 
was a honeymoon at the beginning and, as with all political leaders, 
things would slip a bit. But I would quarrel with that assessment. 

Speaking of reporters, to change the subject, there was a wonder 
ful man called Bill Glasgow. He wrote the Time magazine cover story 
on Governor Brown, which made the governor and Bernice cross. Ask 
Dick when you talk to him; Bill Glasgow was in Arizona some place I 
don t know why I have a feeling that maybe he has died. 

Glaser: He was with Time magazine? 

Burch: Yes. He had wonderful stories. He lived with the governor and 
Bernice and everybody for several weeks. As I recall, it was a 
rather favorable story but there were small things. For example, he 
made sort of deprecating references to to governor s short socks. The 
governor did wear short socks. They looked terrible. [laughter] But 
he made some sort of reference to the governor s socks he d wear 
brown short socks in a context that made it clear that it was a 
sartorial shortcoming. There were some little what were considered 
to be bitchy asides that I remember. Bernice particularly did not 
think it appropriate for a man who d been extended hospitality for a 
couple of weeks to turn around and write snide things. 



16 



Burch: All Time magazine reporters as you know have a perfect answer: they 
say, "they changed it in New York," and probably they do change it in 
New York. But he would be a good person to talk to because he had a 
real slant on the governor. 

Glaser: What year did that appear? 

Burch: It must have been very early along, so it must have been the latter 
part of 59, the early part of 60. He had wonderful stories. I 
can remember him saying, "Traveling around with this crowd... It s 
like a zoo. You get in a limousine with Dick and the governor and it s 
the most incredible performance ever seen. The governor says to Dick, 
See that clipping from the Los Angeles Times about so and so on the 
city council? 

"Dick reads it, says, That s really interesting. Dick says, 
Did you see the clipping from the San Jose Mercury News about how 
your water project s never going to make it? 

"The governor says, No, but let me have it. They both have 
their pockets just filled with old polls, xeroxes, little pieces of 
reports and endless clippings. Two hours down the road, the back is 
awash with papers and the governor is still rooting around in his 
briefcase and Dick is digging practically in his cuffs." [laughter] 
[tape interrupted by ringing telephone] 



17 



VI GOVERNOR BROWN S PARTY RELATIONSHIPS 



President Kennedy 



Glaser: There is talk that Fred Button undermined Pat Brown in Washington with 
Kennedy, that he feathered his own nest by making Pat Brown appear to 
be a boobie. Then the governor came to Washington and talked to the 
Press Club and absolutely floored them with his command of knowledge 
of the California situation talked without notes for forty-five 
minutes to an hour, quoted statistics, and really impressed 

Burch: When was this? Was that when he was first elected or was this after 
Fred had come back here? 

Glaser: When Fred was in Washington. Then from the Press Club he spent an 

evening with President Kennedy. Because of the evening with Kennedy 
and the speech to the Press Club, President Kennedy got a better 
opinion of him. 

Burch: That s an outrageous statement. It s not sensible. I think Fred was 
very cognizant of the governor s faults and may have commented on 
them, but not without acknowledging his merits. 

I would guess that the governor s standing with the president 
did change after the Press Club speech. Certainly. He was probably 
wonderful at the Press Club and the president had no reason not to be 
impressed. But I can t imagine that Fred had told the president that 
he had worked for a nincompoop. That would be unflattering to Fred as 
well. I find it preposterous, and I don t think it s true. 

Originally President Kennedy did not admire Governor Brown. 
President Kennedy was furious at Governor Brown for not coming out for 
him before the convention. (I m quoting Teddy White now, Schlesinger, 
et al) . He didn t need Fred to make him cross at the governor. The 
president had spent a lot of time working on California, had very much 
hoped for the governor s support early on. The governor felt, I think 
quite properly, that there was so much Stevenson you know the story 
so much Stevenson sentiment in the state that he was not going to take 
a stand. 



I think that was not an improper decision, but it certainly 
frustrated the Kennedys, who knew that he basically supported them. 
But I think maybe they felt about Brown as they felt about Adlai 
Stevenson, that he was not sufficiently decisive. I think the governor 
had his own concerns. There was a great deal of frustration among 
senior members of the Kennedy staff at the governor s failure to come 



18 



Burch: out before the convention for President Kennedy. And I m sure that 
Kennedy tended maybe to write him off as the kind of guy who just 
couldn t get with it, that he was the sort who would stick around and 
be sentimental about the hopeless cause of an Adlai Stevenson. 

I think that probably the president did not respect Governor 
Brown, based on that experience, and I m sure that the Press Club 
speech and meeting him personally and spending some time with him 
would probably convince Kennedy that Brown was a more substantial, 
worthy person than he had thought. But I can t see how Fred would 
necessarily figure in those calculations. 

Glaser: I don t want you to think that anybody I talked to here gave me that 
impression 

Burch: No, no. I don t mean to be over-reactive about it, but the short 
answer is, I don t think that s correct. 

Glaser: This is something I had come across in our office, and I don t want 
you to get the impression that it was anybody here because you might 
wonder who was the traitor. 

Burch: No, no, I had heard, certainly, similar comments before I hadn t 
heard that kind of comment tied to the Press Club speech. 



Clair Engle 



Glaser: Were you involved in the Clair Engle situation when Engle was ill and 
there was an attempt to find out just how ill he was and how to 
gracefully get him out for the good of the party? 

Burch: I remember that but I really don t recall much about that. 

Glaser: I spoke to former Congressman Waldie about that and he said the thing 
to do is to find out how Pat got his information about the true 
situation, which surprised Waldie himself. He at one time came back 
from Washington to talk to Engle and then returned to California and 
said, "He is not that ill." Then it turned out that Engle was very 
ill. Waldie wondered where Pat got the true information. 

Burch: No, I wouldn t have any idea and I don t know exactly who would know. 
Glaser: How involved were you with the CDC when you were still in California? 

Burch: Only peripherally. I went to several conventions but, no, I was not 
a grass roots activist. 



19 



George Miller, Jr. 



Glaser : 



Burch : 



Glaser: 



Burch : 



Glaser: 
Burch : 
Glaser: 
Burch : 



I wonder if you got any sense of the relationship in Sacramento between 
the governor and George Miller, Jr.? He was a very powerful man and I 
wondered if you saw him in action with the governor. 

Not that much. Dick was a great friend of George Miller, Jr. s. Dick 
had worked as an aide, a legislative coordinator or something like 
that for awhile. He made sure that bills didn t get lost between the 
senate and the house. I think he was on the senate payroll. So he 
knew Hugh Burns well and worked closely with George Miller, Jr. He 
really knew that senate scene very well. 



Tell me what you did as far as the appointments were concerned, 
seems to be, for every governor, a rather key thing. 



That 



In retrospect I realize I interpreted by job very narrowly. I collected 
recommendations and would screen them with the appropriate legislators, 
people in their local communities , people in the profession if it were 
an appointment to a professional board or whatever. I would take a list 
of names to Fred for guidance and then I d narrow it down to three or 
four and try to get it off my desk to get someone else to make the 
final decision. 

Nancy and May Layne were more aggressive and they actually 
carried the process through to making the appointments themselves. I 
don t mean that the governor didn t okay all appointments, but I think 
they took it a lot further than I did. 

Were you involved in any of the judicial appointments? 

No, not at all. 

Who took care of that? 

I think Billy Coblentz did. I m not sure though. [break in tape when 
Charles Guggenheim enters . Conversation ensues about TV film 
Guggenheim made for Governor Brown s 1966 campaign] 



20 



VII 1966 GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN 



TV Film 



Burch: But there was jillions of copies around. Charles will remember who 

should have copies. There had to be one for each station that ran it, 
so there had to be a number of them. 

Glaser: How long 

Burch: A half hour. 

Glaser: Is there any possibility that a copy could be made for us? 

Burch: I think that s a good point. , We must have the elements from which the 
film was made. It probably wouldn t be the easiest, cheapest thing in 
the world, but, yes, that could be done. You might ask Charles about 
that. 

Glaser: That ought to be part of this documentation of the Brown years. 

Burch: I think it should. I think it really should. I think the governor 
would say that it was a good portrayal of the essential Pat Brown. 
You should see the spots, too. They re funny. Ask Charles about 
the spots. He gets very hair-shirtey about them, doesn t think they 
were helpful, although anyway, let him tell you the story. I m 
talking about the negative spots about Ronald Reagan do you know 
about those? They were terrific politically. I m just saying amusing. 
Old clips from Ronald Reagan films Reagan busting out of a bar and 
shooting up everything. Reagan telling us about the joys of Boraxo. 
This great voice, a wonderful narrator Charles used to use says, 
[lowers voice to imitate narrator] "Ronald Reagan has played many 
roles. This year he wants to play governor. Can you afford the price 
of admission?" They re very humorous. But you should discuss them 
with Charles. I would love to have you see the Brown material. 

Glaser: It sounds as if we ought to have it, really. 
Burch: Yes, I think it would be nice if you did. 
Glaser: Is Mr. Guggenheim willing to talk to me? 

Burch: Yes, yes. He s dictating right now but I m sure he s not going to be 
very long. He s going to call Hale. He s got the note. He said 
he d do it now. 

Glaser: Good. Are there any other people? 



21 



Burch: Well, Bill Glasgow as I mentioned. Do you know who Frank Chambers is? 

Frank Chambers worked for the governor. He s kind of an old, old-school 
politician. He was the northern California chairman in 1958. He did 
organization. I said that Fred didn t turn himself upside down for 
organization. Frank Chambers-- he now does something up in Sacramento. 
He was head of the highway department or something similar in the 
first Brown administration. 

Glaser: Is he on the list? 
Burch: No. He should be though. 
Glaser: Okay. 

Burch: He s a wonderful, rich sort of a raconteur. He d be lovely to talk 
to. 

Glaser: Meredith, do you have any memorabilia? 

Burch: I don t think I have a thing. I don t even think I have a picture. 



Mrs. Brown s Participation 

Burch: I worked for Mrs. Brown in the 66 campaign. 

Glaser: I thought you were back here. 

Burch: No, I came back for the 66 campaign. 

Glaser: Oh, I didn t know that. 

Burch: I went to work for the governor first, on the National Governors 

Conference held in Los Angeles in 1965. I went back on the governor s 
staff in the fall of 1965 and worked through 1966, on his regular 
campaign staff and then for Mrs. Brown. I was asked to handle her 
schedule, speeches et cetera. I enjoyed it a lot. She s a remarkable 
lady and one saw the governor from a different angle. It was fun. 

Glaser: What kind of a woman is she? 

Burch: She s a very impressive lady, very disciplined and an excellent 
campaigner. [pause to answer the telephone] She s extremely 
intelligent, disciplined, well-organized and extremely orderly. I 
emphasize that because she s such a contrast to her husband. I mean 
I didn t march through their bedroom, but you can sort of imagine Pat 
Brown left to his own devices as living in a welter of socks and under- 



22 



Burch: wear in kind of slapdash disorder. [tape is interrupted to discuss 
with Mr. Guggenheim a possible interview with Hale Champion] The 
cliche about Jerry is that he is more like his mother than his father, 
and there s probably some truth to that because the governor was so 
warm and rambunctious. Mrs. Brown is not rambunctious. I learned a 
great deal working with her, and admire her a great deal. 

Glaser: Did you get any sense of how much influence she had on the governor? 

Burch: No, I really didn t. I was around a lot but it s funny, I didn t think 
in those terms. Concerning your future interviews, you should really 
talk to Fred as well as Dick Kline about the 66 campaign, which I 
think was probably a classic example of a bad campaign. 

Glaser: Dick Kline was very open about the mistakes. 

Burch: Everyone s open about them. I m sure Nancy was candid. You only had 
to walk into the door of that headquarters to know that it wasn t a 
good campaign. There s a feel and a smell of things in a political 
campaign 

Glaser: Was Nancy involved in that? 

Burch: Yes, she handled the governor s schedule. 



A Negative Campaign 



Burch: The thing about Charles [Guggenheim] I think you d be interested in 

talking with him about the negative aspects of the campaign and it wasn t 
just the films. Mr. Kline and Harry Lerner, as you know, had a very 
efficient negative campaign. 

Glaser: "Efficient negative" do you want to expand on that a little? 

Burch: Yes, the anti-Reagan as opposed to pro-Brown. Dick Kline and Harry 
Lerner had a unit. They were really prolific. They dug out more 
material God knows who their sources were but they were very good at 
it. 

I hope I m not getting on thin ice now. Since so much was wrong with 
the campaign there was plenty of room to but it was so funny. You know 
how when you re very good at something you find it hard not to do it? 
As I recall, the negative campaign was turned off a number of times. I 
can t remember if it was the governor or Fred I heard say, "God, we 
turn it off every Friday and every Monday I come in and there are those 
big manila envelopes going out to the press." But it was an aspect of 
the campaign that seemed to have a life of its own. It seemed that no 



23 



Burch: matter how often decisions were made in so-called strategy meetings, 
that we weren t going to pursue that effort anymore, the operation 
continued to flourish. It would be an interesting thing to pursue with 
the people involved. Dick Kline must have discussed it. 

Glaser: Yes, but not in this much detail. He did say that in 62 they were so 
effective and gave the governor such good advice that he trusted them 
and went along, even though he felt what they were doing was wrong. 
They felt that they were right and continued. Nobody has discussed 
this as much as you have. 

How much did Mr. Button have to do with the 66 campaign? 

Burch: There was something called the triumvirate or troika: Hale, Fred, and 
Don Bradley. You can imagine how well that worked. It didn t work at 
all. Fred thinks he had very little to do with it. 

Glaser: Dutton? 

Burch: Yes. He supposedly should have had a third to do with it and Hale 

should have had a third and Don should have had a third but life doesn t 
usually work itself out in tidy piles. 

Glaser: But I thought Dutton was back here. 

Burch: No, no. He was summoned out, he thought, to run the campaign. It then 
became apparent that (the governor was notorious for this kind of thing) 
there were three people who thought they were running the campaign. I 
think Fred sort of bowed out, but you ll have to ask him. I was off 
dancing around the countryside with Bernice so 

Glaser: Was it with Bradley that he couldn t work with? 

Burch: Both Don and Hale. But I think that s something the principals would 

discuss much better than I. I wouldn t say that they couldn t work with 
each other. It was just an untenable situation three people don t run 
a campaign; somebody s in charge. 

Glaser: What you re saying leads back to what it was either Jerry Waldie or 

Mr. Dutton who said that Pat Brown had the tendency to ask just every 
body around for advice. 

Burch: That s correct, and not to assign firm responsibilities; not to say 

"He s in charge." It was unfortunately typical that he would allow that 
kind of a mushy situation to develop. 

Glaser: Do you suppose that aside from having a poorly-run campaign that voters 
just felt it was time for a change? 






24 



Burch: Yes, and they were right in a sense. I think the people perceived 

something that disturbed them, and that they perceived correctly. When 
I say the campaign was badly run I don t mean the bumper strips didn t 
get out on time or things like that. I think what was wrong with the 
campaign was symptomatic of some of the problems of going into another 
term, a sort of flabbiness. I don t mean this as harshly as it s 
coming out. 

Let s just establish the premise. I think we all agree, and it s 
not just being sort of cheerfully pollyanna, that the American voters 
really do seem to have an uncanny sense of knowing what s going on, of 
knowing what political candidates are about, of knowing how things are 
functioning. It s almost occult. They seem surprisingly knowledgable 
and informed as to what the situation is and I don t think necessarily 
because of the media. 

** 

Glaser: You were saying that voters perceive something within a candidate. 

Burch: Within a candidate and beyond that within a campaign which is an entity 
that can be differentiated from the candidate. I think there was a 
kind of malaise in that campaign that probably reflected a real malaise 
of how things might have been functioning in the later days of the 
administration or might have functioned in the next administration if 
we had won the election. Just small things. 

But it s generally true that you can walk into a campaign head 
quarters (I m exaggerating a bit) and get a feel for how things are. 
At that campaign headquarters you walked in and you knew there was 
something wrong. There were hundreds of people on the payroll. It was 
an enormously expensive campaign. I don t think there were four 
volunteers around. It just wasn t the lean hard days that you remember 
when you started out, when it was a kind of guerrilla warfare and you 
had a small staff and everyone was really huckltybucklety. This one 
was overstaffed. Every place you looked there was some portentious, 
fat, young advance man. We used to call them the young old farts," 
[laughter] but anyway, there were lots of those. Everyone was paid. 
There was lots of money. 

Glaser: Why did Brown run again? 

Burch: I don t know. I think he thought there were still things he wanted to 
do. He wasn t totally out of steam although I can t imagine anyone in 
their third term, or potential third term, has the fire they did in 
the first term. I think he would have been a better governor than 
Ronald Reagan, but all things considered I think the campaign did have 
a feeling of a lack of leaness and commitment.. I don t mean there wasn t 
commitment I mean a kind of total commitment. 



25 



VIII GOVERNOR AND MRS. BROWN IN OFFICE 



Glaser: People say that Pat Brown didn t want power, he only wanted to accomplish 
things and if power was needed for the accomplishment, okay. Did he get 
caught up with power? Is that why he went on for a third term? 

Burch: I really don t know because I was gone during that latter period. One 
had the feeling that he had just cranked down a little bit. It s 
comfortable being governor. Gosh, you have cars and planes and every 
body looks after you. 

Glaser: He does like adulation. 

Burch: Yes, that s true. That sounds a little harsher I know you don t mean 
it harshly. Yes, he does, but in such an open way that it s not 
unattractive. For example, at the governor s office he would walk out 
at noon for lunch and the school children would be lined up in the hall 
waiting to get in, because they were allowed to tour the governor s 
office when the staff was having lunch. The governor would come out and 
he would say, "Do you know who I am? I m the governor! I m the governor 
of this whole state! Yes, I m the governor." [laughter] He did like 
adulation. When he walked out of that door he wanted those kids to know 
they d seen the governor. So that s true. 

But there are all kinds of ways of liking adulation, and he had such 
a freshness about it, as if he were almost surprised he was governor, too, 
and everybody should just sort of share in this great delight with him. 
I found that beguiling, so open, so non-cool that it was attractive. 

Glaser: People who worked for him talk about him with great love and loyalty. 

Burch: I know for Nancy and certainly for me he was a sort of Papa Bear, and 
he really was very fatherly. He would be curious about one s personal 
concerns. I don t think there was ever this kind of layer there was 
no polyethylene around him or the office. 

Glaser: Did Bernice want him to run again for a third term? 



26 



Burch: I think she did. 

Glaser: She did or did not? 

Burch: I think she did. 

Glaser: Did she enjoy being the governor s wife? 

Burch: I think so. She was very good at it. 

She enjoyed campaigning that last time in 66. She hadn t realized 
the she would be so good at that too. She was impressive and handled 
the press well. The governor was very fond in pointing out that she 
often got better press than he did. She usually went to small towns. 
Obviously she was not going to make news in Los Angeles or San Francisco. 
But in smaller towns like Fresno and San Bernardino, and Eureka, 
Bernice could really capture the media in a way with human interest 
stories that only a woman (at least in those days the papers are more 
sophisticated now) had an opportunity to do. There would usually be a 
personal interview on the woman s page. We d invite all the radio 
people in, and she d usually do a television interview, and in a small 
town she d make front page news as well. 

Glaser: I thought perhaps she was like Pat Nixon, too cold, unable to bend, too 
ungiving for people to relate to. 

Burch: She s a little cool, but, no, she s not like She s half Irish and 
half German. She s sometimes described, as you know, as being rather 
Germanic. But she had a certain warmth to her and she was very gracious. 
She s a thoughtful person and I think that came through, and she looked 
like a first lady. 

Glaser: She certainly is handsome. 

Burch: I think she made a contribution. And the governor was extremely supportive. 
We d come in at the end of the day and, of course, he would have criss 
crossed the state and we would have been maybe three or four places. 
But he always wanted to know first what Bernice was doing and how she was 
and did it go well and what kind of press did she get, and only then 
would he say what he d been up to. 

You should speak with the children, Kathy particularly, that marvelous 
girl. 

Glaser: Fred Dutton mentioned her and that s how he spoke of her. He said that 
if California ever elects a female governor he s sure it would be Kathy. 

Burch: She is something. I don t know if you saw her on television at the 

convention. She is a poised, warm, lovely young woman. She really loved 
and was very supportive of her father. 



27 



Glaser: He said that, number one, she is the apple of Pat s eye 

Burch: No question. 

Glaser: And number two, she is the best politician in the family. 

Burch: I think that s a reasonable appraisal. 

Glaser: Even better than Pat himself. 

Burch: Yes. You d enjoy speaking with her. 

Glaser: Oh, I m sure that we will talk to her. You ve been very, very generous 
with your time. 

Burch: Well, I loved it. [break in the tape] 



28 



IX TRANSITION FOR FIRST ADMINISTRATION, 1958 



Burch: When we first went to Sacramento, Dick had a theory, which I mentioned- 
earlier, about coming in strong. He had a preoccupation with the dangers 
of being taken over, by the bureaucrats a change has been called for 
by the electorate, but the bureaucrats, as we know, sometimes aren t 
as responsive to that change. He was concerned that when we came into 
the governor s of f ice, we would be too dependent on the hold-overs because 
we couldn t even find the bathroom without them. Which was true. The 
file drawers were empty. There wasn t a piece of paper in any of the 
offices. So we were totally dependent on the continuing staff at the 
beginning. And they were very loyal, civil servants, but comfortable 
with things as they were, or had been. 

Dick fought hard for making symbolic changes at the outset. You 
know, you take office at noon and "they" walk out and you walk in. 
That s the first time supposedly that you had really been in the offices. 
It wasn t a warm, endlessly chummy transition. But Dick had somehow 
gotten the key made, I m sure in the small of the night, so we had a 
key to the governor s office. Dick and Fred and I about midnight the 
night before the governor was sworn in, crept into the office. Dick 
lectured us about how important it was to know where the things were 
and to have an idea about office assignments. Otherwise we d come in 
and have to ask, "Now, where are the paper clips and where s the bath 
room and where do you suppose the press secretary should sit." He 
felt we should be comfortable with those rooms, that we should know 
where everybody was going to be placed and we should come in like 
gangbusters. We should take charge. We shouldn t be timorous like 
bunnies looking through a hedge. 

So we walked through the offices and made some decisions. Then we 
went into the governor s office and sat at his desk. Incredible. It 
had, at least in those days, all kinds of buttons on it that would 
cause the walls to move back and forth revealing panels that popped 
out with maps or diagrams or a chart of some sort. Dick had a bottle 
of bourbon and we put our feet on the governor s desk and were punching 
the buttons watching the panels slide back and forth when a guard 
appeared at the door. We fled like children. [laughter] It s hard 



29 



Burch: to explain: "Pretty soon this is going to be all ours." But 

obviously at midnight the night before the transition it wasn t ours. 
We were just trespassers. 

Glaser: This sounds like a Walt Disney 
Burch: Or Fellini. Anyway, it was wonderful. 
Glaser: That s a marvelous image. 

Burch: It was very funny. I hadn t thought about it for years and when it came 
to mind this morning I decided that was probably one of the high points 
of my life. Sitting in the governor s office drinking bourbon and 
watching the panels slide back and forth. [laughter] But you must talk 
to Dick about all that. 

Glaser: Well, I hope that we can get to him. We re going to try. 



Transcriber: Michelle Stafford 
Final Typist: Nicole Bouche 



30 



TAPE GUIDE Meredith Burch 



Interview: April 29, 1977 
tape 1, side A 

tape 1, side B 14 

tape 2, side A [side B not recorded] 24 



31 



INDEX Meredith Burch 



appointments, boards and commissions, 8, 19 



Bonnell [Davis], May Layne, 8, 19 

Bradley, Don, 23 

Brown, Bernice, 15, 21, 26-27 

Brown, Edmund G. , Jr. (Jerry), 13-14, 22 

Brown, Edmund G. , Sr. (Pat), 21-22, 25 

and John F. Kennedy, 14, 17-18 

as governor, 11, 13-16 

legislatial program, 5, 6 

speeches , 11-12 

1958 campaign, 1-5, 23 

1966 campaign, 22-24 



capital punishment, 13-14 
Chambers, Frank, 21 
Champion, Hale, 23 
Chessman case, 13-15 
Christopher, Warren, 11-12 
Citizens for Kennedy, 8 
Coblentz, William, 19 
Coro Foundation, 4n 



Democratic party, California, 3 

Dutton, Fred, 1-5, 7-11, 13, 15, 17-18, 19, 22, 23, 28 



election campaigns 

1958 gubernatorial, 2-5, 21 

1962 gubernatorial, 15 

1966 gubernatorial, 11, 20, 21-24, 26 

1960 presidential, 8, 17-18 
Engle, Clair, 18 



Glasgow, Bill, 15 

Guggenheim, Charles, 11, 20, 22 



higher education, master plan, 6 



32 



Kennedy, John F. , and the U.S. Senate State Department, 8, 10, 14, 17-18 
Kline, Richard, 22-23 



Lerner, Harry, 22 



media, 

and politics, 1, 2, 15-16, 17, 22 
1966 campaign film, 20 



Olympics, 1960 [California], 13-14 



Pauley, Ed, 2 

Press Club, Washington D.C., "Gridiron" Speech, 11, 17-18 



Salzman, Ed, 15 

Sloss, Nancy, 6, 8 11, 19, 22, 25 

Stevenson, Adlai, 1, 17 



Tuck, Dick, 1, 3-4, 5, 8-9, 13, 16, 19, 28 
Unruh, Jesse, 3 



Waldie, Jerome, 18 

water plan, California, 6-7 



Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 

Governmental History Documentation Project 
Goodwin Knight/Edmund Brown, Sr. , Era 



Charles Guggenheim 
THE USE OF FILM IN POLITICAL CAMPAIGNING 



An Interview Conducted by 

Eleanor Glaser 

in 1977 



Copyright (c) 1982 by the Regents of the University of California 




CHARLES GUGGENHEIM 

Photo by Hutchinson Photographers 
St. Lou-is, Missouri 



TABLE OF CONTENTS Charles Guggenheim 



INTERVIEW HISTORY 

I GUGGENHEIM PRODUCTIONS SUGGESTED FOR CAMPAIGN BY HARRY ASHMORE 1 

II CAMPAIGN PERSONNEL AND STRATEGY 4 

III CAMPAIGN SPOTS AND BIOGRAPHY FOR TELEVISION 9 

TAPE GUIDE 12 

INDEX 13 



INTERVIEW HISTORY 



Charles Guggenheim s brief interview provides a glimpse of the 
increasingly important art of political campaign filmmaking. As the easterner 
who produced the celebrated documentary in which Pat Brown recalled that it 
was an actor who shot Lincoln on alluding to Ronald Reagan, Guggenheim offers 
objective corroboration of the problems evident in Brown s ill-fated 1966 
campaign for a third term as governor of California. 

The interview was recorded at Guggenheim Productions in Washington, D.C., 
on 27 April 1977. Earlier that week, Eleanor Glaser, interviewer for the 
Knight-Brown Era oral history project, had taped a discussion with Nancy Sloss, 
a member of Brown s 1958 campaign staff and an aide in the governor s office 
and, at the time, an associate of Guggenheim s. Sloss had then arranged for 
an interview session with Meredith Burch, another Brown veteran who had joined 
the Guggenheim firm. Burch in turn suggested that Guggenheim be interviewed 
and set up an appointment in his busy schedule for a short taping session 
with Glaser. 

A transcript of the interview was sent to Guggenheim for review. It was 
returned to ROHO for final processing in 1981 without revisions. 



Gabrielle Morris 
Project Coordinator 



30 November 1981 

Regional Oral History Office 

486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 



I GUGGENHEIM PRODUCTIONS SUGGESTED FOR CAMPAIGN 
BY HARRY ASHMORE 

[Date of Interview: 29 April 1977] ## 



Glaser: 

Guggenheim: 

Glaser: 



Guggenheim: 

Glaser: 
Guggenheim: 
Glaser: 
Guggenheim: 

Glaser: 
Guggenheim: 



What s the title of your firm, Guggenheim Productions? 
Guggenheim Productions, yes. 

Meredith [Burch] spoke about the 66 campaign more than anyone 
else I ve talked to here, and I d like very much to have your 
input on that . She mentioned that , by and large , it was a 
negative campaign. At what point did you come in? Whose 
decision was it for you to come in and do documentaries and 
shorts? 

I m not quite clear how it all came about but I think it was 
Harry Ashmore. 

Harry Ashmore from Arkansas? 

Yes, Arkansas. 

What did he have to do with it? 



He s lived there for I 



Harry Ashmore is now in Santa Barbara, 
guess twelve years, fifteen years. 

Oh, at the Center for Democratic 



For the Study of Democratic Institutions. He was involved 
because he was interested in politics. I met him when I worked 
for Adlai Stevenson in 56, so he d always been very much involved. 
I think he knew the Governor. In fact, there are a number of 
very funny stories, whether he got them firsthand or secondhand 
I m not quite clear, but most of the funny stories I know about 
Pat Brown come from Harry Ashmore . 



////This symbol indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has 
begun or ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 12. 



Glaser: Tell me some of them. 
Guggenheim: Some of the funny stories? 
Glaser : Yes . 

Guggenheim: Well, one I remember the farmworkers were striking the people 
who pick dates and I guess the date tree is rather high. There 
was some problem, anyway, about them going up on tall ladders. 
There was a safety problem. So the Governor went to look at the 
situation. He climbed a ladder to see firsthand how it was. 
When he came down the ladder, the press was there and the micro 
phones were pushed in his face and someone asked, "Well, Governor, 
how was it?" 

He said, "I think the date pickers have a point. When I was 
up there on that ladder I felt more insecure than I usually do." 
[laughter] 

Harry told me that story. The Governor was the kind of man 
that you laughed with. He was endearing. He was very funny. 
It was the kind of thing he would say. 

I think the way that I got involved was that Harry Ashmore, 
who I had worked with in the Stevenson campaign and also on films 
in Little Rock, where he was publisher of the Arkansas Gazette, 
must have had a conversation with Gene Wyman. I got a call because 
Harry had been familiar with some of the work we were doing in 
political television, and so I went out to the West Coast to talk 
to the campaign; that was before the primary election. They 
possibly were considering using us then. 

I looked at the material they had produced, talked to them, 
looked at the polls and the situation, and said that I felt they 
were going to be in serious trouble. I was there such a short 
time but I made a fairly strong case that I thought they really 
could be bloodied up in the primary. Well, it turned out they 
were. I was prophetic but I was also lucky. Sometimes you re 
wrong, sometimes you re right in this business. I happened to be 
right in this case. So were a lot of other people. 

So after the primary they panicked. They were using David 
Wolper for the primary TV material, and I think they felt he had 
done the wrong thing. I personally don t think it was Wolper s 
fault. But anyway, they came to me. Perhaps it was because 
Wolper wouldn t do it or whatever. I m not sure. But anyway, I 
think it had something to do with the fact that I might have said 
they were going to be in trouble and the combination of that fact 
and that we were new and they needed something new at that point 
had something to do with it. 



Guggenheim: I went out and we were hired and I moved out to California for 
that summer, and the election. I lived there for about three 
months. That s when I met Brown. The first time, when I dis 
cussed their campaign material just before the primary, I didn t 
meet him. I met him when we started work on the general election. 
That s when I met Nancy Sloss and that s when I met Meredith 
Burch. So we went out and set up an office to produce their tele 
vision films for the campaign. 



II CAMPAIGN PERSONNEL AND STRATEGY 



Glaser : 
Guggenheim: 



Glaser: 

Guggenheim: 

Glaser: 

Guggenheim: 

Glaser: 

Guggenheim: 

Glaser: 
Guggenheim: 



Who did you work with on the Brown staff? 

My first contact was Gene Wyman because we needed to work out the 
financial conditions. There was Gene Kline who was finance chair 
man. He was not in a sense on the staff, but he was the man who, 
with Gene Wyman, was responsible for raising the money for the 
campaign. I saw him, too. 

This is not Dick Kline who was the press secretary? 

No. Eugene Kline. 

Oh, nobody s mentioned him. 

Yes, Eugene Kline. He s be worth talking to. 

He was connected with finances? 



Yes, he was finance chairman. 
Los Angeles. 



A very successful businessman in 



He worked with Wyman on raising funds? 

Raising funds, yes, and I think he approved all of the major 
expenditures, at least not the day-to-day expenditures. I don t 
mean to over-emphasize that. These were just the first people 
I met there. I guess Hale Champion was really the first person 
I got close to in the campaign and he was terribly helpful, both 
in Sacramento and then when we moved down to Los Angeles later . 
He told me about the issues and also was the one who kept me 
informed on the problems within the campaign, which probably 
Meredith and Nancy have talked something about: the division 
between certain factions that had been brought into play 
Dutton on one hand, Bradley on the other. Because I was the only 
newcomer there, I think Champion wanted to protect me from whatever 
infighting was going on. Champion was part of that problem too, 
I guess. But he was very, very helpful to me and supportive and 
getting the issues and so forth. 



Guggenheim: Fred Button came in as campaign manager after I started. But 
because we worked very much to ourselves, I never got to know 
him very well until after the campaign. I saw a lot of the 
Governor. 

Glaser: And Kathleen Brown? 

Guggenheim: I didn t meet the girls except in filming and very late in the 
campaign. 

Glaser: Meredith said that you have only one print left of the campaign 
film. 

Guggenheim: Here? That may be true. 

Glaser: She thinks we ought to have a copy. All the things that people 
give us will go into The Bancroft Library, which is really a 
fine place for things to be kept for future historians. 

Guggenheim: That film would be very important to keep there. 

Glaser: Yes. What would be the possibility of our getting a copy? 

Guggenheim: I wouldn t be surprised if there weren t a number of copies out 
in California by number, five or six prints. I think probably 
even the Governor has one, and it would probably be good if you 
kept his print.* 

Glaser: If he doesn t, can you give us some other names that we could 
contact? 

Guggenheim: The advertising man of that campaign. Did his name come up at all? 
Jim Keene? 

Glaser: Dick Kline mentioned him. 

Guggenheim: Keene would probably be worth talking to, too, because he worked 
on more than just one campaign with Brown, I believe. 

Glaser: We didn t know his name back in our office. We had the name of 
a man who would be before your time. His name was Len Gross. 
He worked with Roberts on the very expensive fight on Proposition 
14, the one that was trying to turn around the Rumford Fair Housing 
Act. 



*Governor Pat Brown has agreed to deposit his copy of this film 
in The Bancroft Library, when it is located among materials in his 
possession in 1981. 



Glaser: 

Guggenheim: 

Glaser: 

Guggenheim: 

Glaser: 

Guggenheim: 



Guggenheim: Right. I don t know if Keene was involved in that or not, but he 
had been involved with Brown on some other things , whether it was 
some of those 

Glaser: Was he a southern California man? 

Guggenheim: Yes, he was southern California, from Los Angeles. They distrib 
uted that film to stations, and I think there must have been 
maybe twenty prints made. Now prints can be struck off from the 
negative, except you probably don t want to pay for it. So if 
there s a print available you might as well get it. 

If there isn t one available how much would it be? 

I think maybe $150 or something like that. 

What about spots? 

Same thing. I think we only have one copy of spots here. 

How many copies of spots were there all together? 

I think there may be fifteen or twenty. They would historically 
be very significant because I think it was one campaign that was 
sort of misdirected, and I think that television reflected that 
misdirection. 

When I got into the campaign it was already The strategy 
as probably a number of people will tell you, their idea was to 
have Reagan win the primary. They went to a lot of effort to have 
Reagan win the primary because they thought he was beatable. 
I think it was the mayor of San Francisco 

Glaser: Yes, George Christopher. 

Guggenheim: Christopher, yes. Then from there on the whole idea was to just 
sort of make ludicrous Reagan s candidacy, that an actor should 
try to run the biggest state in the union. They got caught up 
in that strategy and they devoted all of their time to that thing. 
When I got there it was already in motion and instead of separating 
myself I did to some extent but separating myself from it I got 
caught in it, in the sense the television reflected and supported 
that same kind of strategy: going after Reagan rather than trying 
to build up Brown. In retrospect, in hindsight, it was a mistake. 

Glaser: How much did you work with Brown and what can you tell me about 
your reactions to him as a person? 



Guggenheim: I remember when I first met him of course, when you first meet 
someone like that you want to sort of gain his confidence. 
I always felt that he was always cooperative and very kind and fun 
to be with and interesting and open. The first time, I had a 
feeling he didn t know exactly what we were about, what we were 
trying to do. He left to his lieutenants he left it to Button, 
Bradley, and Champion; and to Roy Ringer in a sense, because I 
worked closely with Roy. I didn t mention him before, but we 
worked together writing the radio spots . He worked on radio with 
me and we became very close friends because of that. 

Glaser: Was he on the governor s staff? 

Guggenheim: He was on the governor s staff. Have you talked to him? 

Glaser: Nobody s mentioned him. 

Guggenheim: Oh, my gosh. You ve got to talk to Roy Ringer. I would say next 
well, I can t say that, that s not true, because Fred is very 
important, but Roy would be as important as anybody you could 
talk to. 

Glaser: What was his title? 

Guggenheim: Roy? That s a good point. I think he was probably chief of press, 
in charge of press. He worked for the Governor, I think, on staff, 
years, not many years, but before the election. I know he wrote 
a lot of speeches for him before the election. He wrote speeches 
during the election and he ran the press office. 

Glaser: Burby is the name that I got from Nancy Sloss. 

Guggenheim: Jack was his press secretary and Roy was in the campaign running 
the press office. 

Glaser: Oh, for the campaign. I see. 
Guggenheim: Yes, he was not his press secretary. 
Glaser : Do you know where he is now? 

Guggenheim: Yes, he s chief editorial writer for the Los Angeles Times . 
A great guy. Give him my best. 

Glaser: That s a great lead. That s why we talk to people like you, if you 
wonder why I m taking up your time. 

Guggenheim: I m surprised Nancy and Meredith didn t talk to you about Roy. 

Roy is crucial for you to talk to. He s fond of the Governor and 
a great student of him. In terms of campaign issues and in and out 



8 



Guggenheim: 



Glaser: 
Guggenheim: 

Glaser: 
Guggenheim: 



during a certain period, he would be as alert and as sensitive and 
have as much insight as anybody I know. We were in the campaign. 
He knew California politics in and out. He knew the Governor 
because he had in fact, he wrote a book. He ghosted a book for 
the Governor. 



I m not sure it 



The one that appeared after the election? 

He wanted to write a book on the judicial system. 
was ever published. 

No, Pat Brown wrote a book about Reagan.* 

Oh, did he? Now whether Roy did that I m not sure but they had a 
falling out on this book. It had to do with the judicial system 
or something like that. They had a misunderstanding in terms of 
money owed to each other. There was some bitterness involved there. 
But I think it s been long enough and Roy is not a very vitriolic 
person. I think he would pull back and I think inwardly Roy still 
has a great fondness for Brown. Even if there isn t, you should 
get his point of view. But he would be very helpful. 

So we sort of did our own thing. Dick Kline and Harry Lerner 
a public relations man who had retired and gone to Palm Springs 
and came back for this campaign. He had made a lot of money on 
campaigns in California who worked with Dick Kline. They were sort 
of a duo. They worked together in the digging up of all this stuff 
on Reagan. That just seemed to preoccupy them. They did the 
research on it. So I got caught up in it. 



*Reagan and Reality, Praeger, 1970. 



Ill CAMPAIGN SPOTS AND BIOGRAPHY FOR TELEVISION 



Guggenheim: Our television was mostly negative. Our spots were negative and 
our half hour was very positive. It was a biography on him. 
It was very difficult producing that half hour for strange reasons 
I just couldn t get people in California to do that kind of film. 
It seems strange because here we were in Hollywood. But that film 
was interesting. You probably have to see it to appreciate what 
I m going to say about it but it was shown 

[Phone rings.] ## 

We played this film; I think you have to look at it first. 
I think everybody who knows Pat Brown likes it very much because 
he was out and very open and made you feel good to be around him. 
I think it was hard to capture those people who thought he was 
sort of an old pal, but this film sort of got inside him. We showed 
this film (I guess it was three weeks before the election because 
we were going to put it on the air for three weeks) up in this 
office I had rented right next to the headquarters . Gene Wyman was 
there, Bradley all the people who worked closely with him over the 
years and in this campaign. 

After the film was over there was kind of a little coughing 
and so forth and people sort of left the room. I said, "To hell 
with it," and went back to the John with them and there were all 
these grown men in there crying. That s sort of how they felt. 

Glaser: You must have felt pretty terrific. 

Guggenheim: I felt very good about it. I m not sure anyone who hadn t known 

him I think the polls were pretty clear that he was going to lose 
and I think they d been through a lot together with him and were 
very fond of him. It made them very close to him. 

Then there was something in that film that maybe Meredith 
and Nancy talked about it again, you have to look at the picture. 
It s a scene where he s with Tom Braden. He goes into this school 



10 



Guggenheim: 



Glaser : 



Guggenheim: 



and there s these little kids and he says, "You know the governor 
of California?" The kids shake their heads. He says, "You don t 
know the governor of California? You don t know his name?" They 
all shake their heads no. He says, "Well, do you know who the 
president of the United States is? But you don t know who the 
governor of California is?" So everybody s kind of laughing and 
he says, "Well, you know who I m running against?" 



You know what 



Someone says , "Yeah . " 

He says, "You know what he is? He s an actor, 
an actor did, don t you? An actor shot Lincoln." 

Was this scripted? 

No, no. It was completely unscripted. When you tell the story it 
sounds absolutely horrible. If you see the film then you have to 
make your own judgment. It was an endearing moment because of the 
fact that the teachers were laughing, the black kids were laughing, 
everybody was laughing. 

So the California press got a preview of the picture and they 
wrote this down and they ran out to the airport and got George 
Murphy getting off the airplane and said, "You know Pat Brown has 
a film out and it says, Who killed Lincoln? An actor killed 
Lincoln." 1 

Murphy says, "That s the kind of thing Pat Brown would do. 
He would just shoot off his mouth. That s just the kind of thing 
they would do in this campaign racist." 

So they started getting this trememdous criticism from Repub 
licans calling up and saying, "That s a horrible thing." 

Gene Wyman calls me up and says, "Jesus, we re getting a lot 
of flack on this thing." 

I said, "Well, Gene, how far behind in the polls are we?" 

He said, "As far as I can see we re still about ten or twelve 
percentage points ahead." 

I think it came up to something like a million votes or 
600,000 votes. 

I said, "Look, we ve only got this one chance. We ve only got 
this film left. That s all we ve got and everyone feels it s a 
very strong picture. If they generate a lot of press, people will 
want to see it, to see what s in it. Then they ll see they all 



11 



Guggenheim: made a lot out of nothing and they ll also get to see Brown as he 
hasn t been depicted before and it will be a plus." 

The mistake I made was that no television program could be 
seen in numbers to exceed those people who would talk about this 
and who read it in the newspaper and everything. So it was a 
mistake not to take it out. It read terribly. Word of mouth was 
horrible. It just didn t sound right, as it hasn t to you. But 
in the picture it s rather sort of endearing. So that was a 
mistake. 

Brown always said to me afterward, "If we hadn t had that 
thing in there, do you think we would have won?" 

I said, "Governor, I think it hurt us. Instead of losing by 
a million votes, you would have lost by 600,000." But that was 
the extent of it. 

Glaser: Did he accept that from you? Because that s kind of a dig. 

Guggenheim: What s that? 

Glaser: To say instead of losing by 600,000 you lost by a million. 1 

Guggenheim: Oh, he laughed. I never saw him get bitter. I never saw him get 
angry. He s the kind of person who I m sure I think afterwards, 
even with Reagan, I think he became sort of friendly with him. 
I think they were on programs together and talked together. But 
I never saw him say he might say, "That guy s crazy," or something 
like that but nothing was personal. You never had the feeling that 
he was a bitter man or that he got vitriolic or upset with anybody. 

Glaser: It was a generosity of the spirit? 

Guggenheim: Yes, I think that s right. That was a thing, I think, that endeared 
him to people. I talked to his secretary, because when making films 
I used to go talk to people who were around him. The secretaries 
up in Sacramento said that they had worked for a couple of governors 
and they were terribly impressed by Brown s ability, fairness, and 
administrative ability, and so forth. He had a way of getting a lot 
done. But someone else can tell you far more about that end. I 
shouldn t even discuss that because it s very peripheral. 

Glaser: I thank you very much for your time. 
Guggenheim: You re welcome. 



Transcriber: 
Final Typist: 



Michelle Stafford 
Ruth S. Baseman 



12 



TAPE GUIDE Charles Guggenheim 



Date of Interview: 29 April 1977 
tape 1, side A 
tape 1, side B 9 



13 



INDEX Charles Guggenheim 



As hmo r e , Harry , 1- 2 



Braden, Tom, 9 

Bradley, Don, 4, 7,9 

Brown, Edmund G., Sr. (Pat), 1-3, 5-6, 8-11 

Burch, Meredith, 3 



Champion, Hale, 4, 7 
Dutton, Fred, 4-5, 7 



election campaigns 
methods, 4, 6, 8-9 
polls, 2, 10-11 
1966 gubernatorial, 1, 4-6, 8-11 



Keene, James, 5-6 
Kline, Gene, 4 
Kline, Richard, 8 



Lerner, Harry, 8 
Murphy, George, 10 



Reagan, Ronald, 6, 11 
Rice, Kathleen Brown, 5 
Ringer, Roy, 7-8 



Sloss, Nancy, 3 

television, and politics, 6, 9-11 



Wolper , David , 2 
Wyman, Gene, 2, 4, 9.10 



Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 



Governmental History Documentation Project 
Goodwin Knight/Edmund Brown, Sr. , Era 



Judy Royer Carter 
PAT BROWN: THE GOVERNORSHIP AND AFTER 



An Interview Conducted by 

Amelia R. Fry 

in 1977 



Copyright (c) 1982 by the Regents of the University of California 



TABLE OF CONTENTS Judy Royer Carter 



INTERVIEW HISTORY i 

The Governor s Sacramento Office: 1961-1964 1 

Proposition 14: The 1964 Fair Housing Campaign 3 

The Watts Riots and the Development of the Governor s 

Los Angeles Office 7 

The 1966 Race: Campaign Organization and Speech Writing 11 

Comments on the 1966 Defeat 15 

Reflections on Brown s Achievements as Governor 16 

Pat Brown After the Governorship 17 

Working for the Governor 24 

TAPE GUIDE 26 

INDEX 27 



INTERVIEW HISTORY Judy Royer Carter 



As Governor Pat Brown s secretary for eleven years, Judy 
Carter provides invaluable commentary on the governor s informal 
work style in this short interview. Competent and loyal, she 
speaks briskly of the routines of keeping up with the paperwork 
both in the governor s office and in his 1966 re-election campaign, 
touching on the response of the executive staff to such urgent 
issues as the 1964 initiative to defeat fair housing and the 
1965 Watts riots, which led to strengthening the governor s 
staff in Los Angeles. For the campaign, Ms. Carter left the 
state payroll and worked in Brown headquarters in Los Angeles, 
an example of the care taken by the governor to separate executive 
and political activities. Soon after Brown s defeat, Ms. Carter 
joined him at the Los Angeles law firm of Ball, Hunt, Hart, 
Brown and Baerwitz. Having continued as his secretary there, 
she summarizes the legal and public affairs activities in which 
he was involved throughout the 1970s. 

"He s an amazing person," she says of her boss. "He s 
usually doing four or five things at one time. He s delightful 
to work for, but it s not easy. Very seldom does he lose his 
temper. Then it s probably at a situation that has got him 
frustrated." 

The interview was conducted in Los Angeles by Project 
Director Amelia Fry on 24 May 1977, shortly before Ms. Carter 
retired to settle in the northern California gold country town 
of Weaverville. Due to turnover in the Oral History Office 
staff, there was some delay in sending the rough-edited tran 
script to her for review. She returned it in 1981 with minor 
grammatical revisions and deletions of a few extraneous comments. 



Gabrielle Morris, 
Project Coordinator 



30 December 1981 

Regional Oral History Office 

Room 486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 



PAT BROWN: THE GOVERNORSHIP AND AFTER 
[Date of Interview: 24 May 1977] ## 

The Governor s Sacramento Office: 1961-1964 



Fry: We can start in on how you first went to Pat s office. Now, 
you just told me that was in 1962. Is that when you first 
started working for him? 

Carter: No. I guess actually it was in about 61 probably, because 

it was just before the campaign with Nixon was getting geared 
up again. I went into the press section then. 

Fry: Were you a newspaper person at that time? 

Carter: No, I wasn t as a matter of fact. I was just working for 

the state at the Department of Finance. I just went over and 
applied for the job, and that s where they put me. 

Fry: Oh, really? 
Carter: Yes. 

Fry: And you just got it. So, what was your job then in 62? 

You first- 
Carter: I was working as secretary for Lou Haas in the press secretary s 
office, typing speeches and typing press releases and the 
correspondence that they had generally in that department. 

Fry: How did Pat get his speeches written? 

Carter: He had a speech secretary. At that time I can t remember 
what her name is. You probably have it in 

Fry: Pat Sikes? [Patricia G. Sikes] 



////This symbol indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has 
begun or ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 26. 



Carter: 



Fry: 

Carter: 

Fry: 

Carter: 

Fry: 
Carter: 



Fry: 

Carter: 

Fry: 



Pat Sikes was writing his speeches. Then, of course, everybody 
in the press section and some of his other cabinet members 
would go over them, depending on the subject of the speeches, 
and make their changes. The Governor would then make whatever 
changes he wanted; they would finally come out in the finished 
product. The press section would then type the speeches if 
we were distributing a whole speech, or take excerpts out of 
it and write up our press releases to distribute to the newspapers. 

Were you there when they decided that, and convinced Pat, that 
it was more important and a lot easier if he would read speeches 
rather than give them off the cuff? 

I think I was probably there and heard discussions of it, 
but at that time I wasn t that close to the speeches per se. 
So, I didn t get that involved with it. 

I wondered, of all the governors, if Pat wasn t the most difficult 
to handle by the press secretary because he is so open. He 
really says what he thinks . 

I think you re right there. He never followed the speeches 
exactly anyway. He still doesn t. 

Can you think of any examples? 

No, I can t think of any specific examples. But I know he 
would never follow them precisely the way they were written. 
He would always change them a bit; he still does. He dictates 
them to me now and changes them. 

Changes them after they re dictated? 
Yes. 



What about having to go back and rewrite a lot? 
problem? 



Was this a 



Carter: I can t tell you how much was done at that time, because if 

the speeches started out in the press secretary s office they 
would be typed once, and by the time they got to us they were 
pretty much in finished form except for whatever changes the 
press men wanted to make on them. So, we d be down to about 
the final draft at that point. I don t know how much. I 
know he changes them a lot. 



Proposition 14: The 1964 Fair Housing Campaign 



Fry: 

Carter: 

Fry: 

Carter: 

Fry: 
Carter: 

Fry: 

Carter: 
Fry: 

Carter: 



Before we turned on the tape recorder, you told me that in 

64 you did the fair housing campaign in the southern California 



area. 



Right. 

You ran the office? 

No, no, no. I was just working with Lou Haas in the press 
section getting out press releases. 



And Dick Kline? 

Yes. Dick Kline was the campaign manager for that, 
was in charge of the press . 



Lou Haas 



What sorts of things did you have to cope with from the opposition? 
Maybe we better add, you were for "No on 14," right? 

Yes. 

Okay . Now what did you have to cope with from the people 
who did not want fair housing? 

They were very, very bigoted people who just wouldn t even 
consider the other side for the most part. They were not 
reasonable in listening to the pros and cons of the whole 
thing. I didn t get that involved in any public things because 
I was in the office. I know that there was a very heated 
campaign, because if you were for it you were for it, and 
if you were against it you were usually violently against 
it. 






*Proposition 14 on th.e November 1964 ballot was an initiative 
constitutional amendment to repeal the 1963 Rumford Act, a 
"fair h.ousing" statute designed to relieve racial discrimination 
in the sale or rental of real estate. The initiative passed 
4,526,460 to 2,395,747 but was later declared unconstitutional 
by the California state superior court and the U.S. Supreme 
Court . 



Fry: What about working with the newspapers down here? Were most 
of the newspapers coming out against fair housing? 

Carter: Most of them were against fair housing. 
Fry: Like the L.A. Times? 

Carter: I can t remember what the Times s position was in that. That s 
going back a long time to remember. A great deal of the papers 
were not for fair housing at all. One of the great problems 
was the wording in the proposition itself, because then by 
saying "No on 14" people thought that they were voting for 
something different. 

Fry: No on 14 meant yes on fair housing. 

Carter: Yes on fair housing. Getting that across to the people so 
that they understood was a great problem. 

Fry: Yes. Did you find that this was one of your major efforts? 
Carter: It was. It was one of the things that we explained a lot. 
Fry : No means yes . 

Carter: Yes. Then when you dealt down in Los Angeles or in southern 
California with people who perhaps weren t quite as literate, 
and they couldn t understand. Your Mexican communities and 
places like that had a very difficult time understanding the 
wording on that ballot. So that was a problem. 

Fry: Even though it would have been in their interest. 

Carter: Oh, yes. They were for the fair housing, but they didn t 

understand the wording on it well enough to be able to even 
know how to vote. So that was a major part of what we were 
tring to convey. 

Fry: Later after it lost, was this one of the things that you felt 
was the major cause of its losing? 

Carter: No, I don t think it was. I really don t think that the wording 
was. It was not a wealthy campaign. We certainly didn t 
have the finances that the other side had either. 

Fry: How and why did you go from the governor s office to that 

campaign? The No on 14 campaign office was separate from 

Carter: It was separate, yes. The press secretary Lou Haas and Dick 
Kline were going. They just wanted someone else to go from 
our office and they asked me. So I said I would go and work 
on the campaign with them. 



Fry: 
Carter: 

Fry: 
Carter: 



Fry: 
Carter: 
Fry: 
Carter: 



Was Rumford involved in that campaign? 

How much communication he actually had with our campaign office 
I don 1 t know. 



Was the campaign as separate as I think it was? 
own fund raising and your own money? 



You had your 



Yes, but where the funds came from I really couldn t tell 
you. Probably Dick Kline or someone who worked in charge 
of the campaign would have to tell you. But it was totally 
separate. We didn t get money from the governor s office 
or from the state. We had to have our own fund raising. 

After that campaign you went to the governor s office? 
In Los Angeles . 
Why was that? 

They had needed a secretary in the L.A. office. Sacramento 
had called and asked if I d be interested in going down there. 
The girl who d been there I don t know whether she quit 
or left or what. But they needed someone else down there, 
and so I said I d go. 



The Watts Riots and the Development of the Governor s 
Los Angeles Office 



Fry: The thing I m really interested in is the development of the 
govenor s office in Los Angeles. This was certainly the area 
where the votes were, one would expect them to have a big 
office here. 

Carter: It was a large office in terms of space, but there were no 
people there. [laughter] 



Fry: 



Just you? 



Carter: When I first went there there were many days when I would 

be the only person there to answer the phones and try and help 
the people who were calling. 

Fry: That was in 1965? 

Carter: It would have been in the fall of 64. See, the election 



Carter: was in November, and I went down there as soon as the election 
was over. 

Fry: I thought maybe this situation continued through 65. 

Carter: It continued until the riots started in, what, August of 
65? The dates escape me, but I think it was 1965. 

Fry: They lasted from August 11, 1965 to August 16, 1965. 

Carter: Yes. It was summertime. Really, until the riots it was a 

very small office. Still it was continued. When the Governor 
was in town he was there. He had other staff come in with 
him, of course, who were flying with him all the time. Other 
than that, many days there would be no one else there but me. 

Fry: Pat Brown was out of the country when the riots began. 
Carter: He was in Greece. 

Fry: If you can remember today here you were in the governor s 

office in Los Angeles and the Watts riots broke out. How did 
you find out that they were occurring? 

Carter: We started getting lots of phone calls. It s very hard to 

remember which came first. I know the governor s office sent 
down some of the men from Sacramento that morning, or maybe 
it was Sherrill Luke. I can t remember who came in first. 

Fry: You mean before the riots started? 

Carter: Just about the time when the riots were starting to explode 
there were a lot of problems, which the governor s office 
was aware of, probably minor incidents, before they became 
a full-blown riot. 

I think it was Sherrill Luke who came in first, early 
in the morning; I m not sure. Maybe somewhere else you might 
find who it really was who truly came in. I think it was 
Sherrill Luke. He was secretary of urban affairs in the ca 
binet then. You probably know who he is or have talked to 
him. 

Fry : I haven t . 

Carter: He s a black attorney, and he was in charge of urban affairs 

in the cabinet, I think, at that time. Problems were occurring 

that morning early, before it was really termed a riot. We 
were aware of the situation that was building out there, and 
the phones were going crazy with people calling. 



Carter: After Luke came in then the governor s office sent down a 

lot of other staff members from Sacramento. I probably can t 
even remember to tell you just who it was. I know Roy [Ringer] 
was in there and Bob Chick was in there at that time. The 
A[ttorney] G[eneral] s office 

Fry: You re talking about permanent staff from the office? 

Carter: No, no. This was people who just came in that day. Sacramento 
just sent lots of people in. They sent down two or three 
girls to help, because by that point we d gotten to the point 
where the press was up there talking all the time. We had 
to order many more emergency telephones for our use and we 
had to have them installed right then. We couldn t wait. 
Dick Kline was there too. That s another person who came 
in. We ordered emergency telephone service. We were basically 
locked in the building. They wouldn t let us leave. The 
state police had taken every no one else was in the building, 
you see. There were some people in the AG s office, some 
attorneys . 

Fry: Were you very far from the AG s office? 

Carter: No. I think it was only on the floor below us, or two or 
three below us. It was in the same building. But we were 
there for probably thirty-six hours or so without going home. 
The state police were bringing us food. We ordered all the 
extra telephones and set up pay phones for the press to use. 
I can remember typing the emergency curfew orders for the 
AG s men because, I guess, they had no girls downstairs. 
Just the attorneys were down there. By then we had gotten 
two girls from Sacramento in to help with what we were doing. 

The sequence of these things I really can t put together. 
If I read someone else s account maybe I d say no, it wasn t 
right. We did have a big meeting with people from the com 
munity, with the ministers and some of the leaders from the 
communities out there. [Lieutenant Governor] Glenn Anderson 
came in. Whether he came in before we had the big meeting 
or if he came in after that, I honestly can t tell you. He 
came in at some point. Then Governor Brown came back from 
Greece and got in around midnight one night and took over. 

Fry: Why were you locked in the office? 

Carter: We couldn t really go home. It was like an emergency situation 
where they didn t want anyone else coming into the building. 
I don t mean to make you think they wouldn t let us go home, 



Carter: but we had to stay there to work. The phones rang twenty-four 
hours a day. There were things to do. In fact most of the 
decisions and what they were doing with the national guard 
was being decided in our office with the attorney general 
and the people from the governor s office and the lieutenant 
governor in there. So we were open twenty- four hours there. 
In fact you really couldn t tell the difference between day 
and night as far as phone calls slowing down or the work. 
It was just the same. So they didn t want just anybody walking 
in the building because they were afraid of threats and violence. 

Fry: What about people who had actually been on the scene at the riots 

and had a first-hand report of what was going on? Could 
these people get in to give you information? 

Carter: I don t know how they were deciding who could come in and who 

couldn t. We had the meeting with the people from the community. 

There was a lot of highway patrolmen and state police there 

watching who came in. I think that most of them knew who 

the people coming in were before they ever got up to our floor. 

We had some of the men in the office who went out to the scenes 

of the riots and then camp back and were telling us about 

what was going on. 

Fry: Did this include any of the names that you mentioned? 

Carter: I m trying to think who went out there. Dick Kline might have 
gone out there. John Billett, I think might have gone out 
there. He was someone who had come down from Sacramento. 
I think John Billett was probably a legislative secretary 
at that time. I can t remember what his title was. Probably 
someone from the AG s office must have gone out there with 
them too. They flew out in a helicopter and went out on the 
line and then came back to the office. 

Fry: In this meeting with the ministers were there other people 

from the community as well? 

Carter: Yes, I think they had community leaders, probably some of their 
outstanding citizens. 

Fry: Did that meeting last very long? What did they talk about? 

Carter: I wasn t there, so I couldn t tell you. They had it in the 
governor s office and I wasn t in there. 

Fry: Do you know the results of it? 

Carter: The meeting took place when the riots were building up, but 



Carter: I think the people at the meeting were trying to avoid what 
happened the next day which was probably a Saturday when it 
really got out of hand totally by trying to work with these 
people, and have them go back and see what they could do. 

Fry: Were you able to observe enough of what happened to know, 
as you look back on it now, if any action that was taken 
escalated the riot, or if any actions that were taken helped 
to keep it from getting worse than it actually was? 

Carter: No, that s hard to say. No. I wouldn t even want to give 
an opinion, because I really don t know whether what we did 
was right or wrong. I know everybody genuinely felt what we 
were doing was [helpful?] because they were trying to keep 
it under control or stop it as best they could. But it s 
very hard to say, you know, in looking back. You could go 
back ten years before that and say if you did this differently 
that wouldn t have happened. 

Fry: Was there a difference of opinion here between any people, 

like the law enforcement community and the attorney general s 
office, and what the governor s people thought should be done? 

Carter: Certainly there were differences of opinion probably even 

within the governor s office from the staff people, because 
nobody had really ever gone through this kind of a situation. 
So what you had was a lot of people who were very brilliant, 
each in their own field, trying to say this is the best thing 
to do. In the discussions, even on the curfew, everybody 
had an input to see which is better. Is it better to have it 
or better not to have it? 

Fry: Whether being stuck with enforcement or something like that 
was going to create worse problems. 

Carter: Right. When to call out the national guard these were all 
things that everybody was just taking everyone s advice and 
weighing all the evidence and seeing which is better to do. 

Fry: Some, I guess, were pretty committed to their point of view. 

Carter: Yes, some of the people certainly were. The sequence of how 
we got to making the curfews I really can t remember. I can 
remember everybody sitting around discussing it. Who said 
what, I couldn t tell you because it s a long time ago. 

Fry: Yes, and there have been lots of books and things written 
on this since then too. 



10 



Carter: Yes, exactly. 

Fry: It s kind of good to have your own account of what it was 
like to be in that office. 

Carter: Yes. Yes, it was certainly an experience. 

Fry: One of the things I read was that what came out of all this 
for the Governor was that he did deliver a major address to 
the state on this after everything had sort of calmed down 
and apparently won an awful lot of support after that. 

Carter: Yes, the situation could have gotten much worse than it was. 
It was bad. Not to say it wasn t a bad situation, but it 
probably could have really blown up to where the whole city 
could have been burnt. They could have moved out of that 
one area. So, I think there s no question about it, that it 
was probably handled in the right way. 

Someone once said to me after we had gone through that, 
that it was like living in a command post in a war, which 
when you think about it, it truly probably was, the closest 
maybe that I, or a lot of people, would ever get to that kind 
of a situation. 

Fry: After it had not resolved but after it had blown over, what 
effect did this have on the governor s office in Los Angeles? 

Carter: We kept more staff down there. For one thing we had Alex 
[Alexander H. ] Pope in our office, who was doing a report 
on the riots, or perhaps not specifically on the riots, but 
what some kinds of solutions might be and what should be done 
in Watts to help them. He s an attorney in L.A.. He and his 
secretary were there for a couple of months working on this 
report. 

We did build up the staff, then, after that. It seems 
to me we probably had a couple of people there almost all the 
time, a couple of men. We got a receptionist after that, 
so that I was freed a little bit from the phones. 

Fry: Was Pope black or white? 
Carter: He s white. 

Fry: Was there any thought of putting a governor s representative 
in a store front office in Watts? 

Carter: Not that I heard, although there could have been. Somebody 
could have discussed it. But, no I didn t hear that. 



11 






Fry: What sorts of problems, besides this rather spectacular one, 
did you handle in the office? Could you give us a range? 

Carter: There were really no other specific problems that I can remember. 
People would call in and they d want information or they d 
want help. Mostly what I did was just talk to them, try and 
find out what they needed, and try and find the right depart 
ment or somebody who could help them. 

Fry: In other words they needed help with something in state government, 
or their own problems . 

Carter: In state government, and they wouldn t know where else to call, 
so they d call there. I would get the information and try 
and follow through on it. Other than that I did still type 
a lot of the the speeches down there, and I just did general 
typing for the fellows who were there. When Pat was down 
I would do work for him. 



Fry: Did he come in more often after that? 

Carter: After the riots he did come in a lot more often. Now I wasn t 
there a whole long time after the riots, because I then left 
and went into the campaign office in 66. But after that we 
built up and we never really dwindled down to one or two people 
again. They kept it pretty adequately staffed and kept at 
least two people in there. 



The 1966 Race: Campaign Organization and Speech Writing 



Fry: It s good to talk to somebody who was in southern California 

during the 1966 campaign, because in northern California every 
body always says that campaign was really the one that was 
run from the South. I suppose after that all campaigns have 
been run in the South, where the votes are. 

Carter: I think it probably was; there s more votes down here. So 
it makes a lot more sense to do it from here. 

Fry: Sure. You re in the center of the vote-getting area. Could 
you tell me about the campaign offce and how it was set up? 

Carter: Don Bradley was in charge of it. We had a lot of bosses, 
[chuckling] a lot of people in charge. 

Fry: That s what s difficult for historians later, determining 



12 



Fry: whether a particular person was a campaign manager in title 
or in actual function. 

Carter: I know. I would have to say Fred Button was also in charge. 

Everybody had sort of their own little thing they were in charge 
of. But, then they all liked to overlap each other. It s 
very hard to say, "Well, he really only did this", because 
they all sort of mixed in. But certainly Fred Dutton was in 
volved as an advisor to the Governor. 

Fry: He was sort of number one ? 

Carter: No, actually I d say Bradley was the number one voice in our 
office here. 

Fry: He was the one where the buck stopped? 

Carter: I think so. 

Fry: Or you didn t have a place where the buck actually stopped? 

Carter: We didn t really, no. It kept going back and forth. 

Fry: It didn t move upward? It does sound a little confusing. 

Carter: Joe [R. ] Cerrell was in the office there. I think I gave you 
the other names of the press fellows who were there. 

Fry: Yes. Let s see, I have Lou Haas and Dick Kline, Harry Lerner, 

Roy Ringer on speeches, Tom Moore. Don Bradley was the manager, 
and Chuck [Charles N.] Winner was an advance person setting 
up events. Frank Cullen was handling volunteers. 

Carter: Yes, Bradley!?] was sort of in charge of the office, seeing 
that everything ran in the office. 

Fry: Inside the office? 

Carter: Yes. Yes. 

Fry: How did Dutton and Bradley get along? 

Carter: I really couldn t tell you because the way physically that we 
were set up was the press had its own little room, because 
we were so noisy with the teletypes and the machines going that 
they put us in the back. We had partitions around us. Unlike 
most of the rest of the office which was open, we were sitting 
in the back. 



13 






Fry: Who was handling the press? 

Carter: Lou Haas was in the office all the time. He was basically 

in charge of the day-to-day press operation. The other fellows 
like Ringer and Kline travelled a lot with the Governor and 
worked on things with him. If he was in northern California 
they might be in northern California with him, where Haas was 
here everyday in the day-to-day press workings. The other 
fellows would go with the Governor, or they d be in Sacramento 
or San Francisco. 

Fry: Who handled the campaign materials, the brochures and bumper 
stickers and things like that? Was that all handled through 
Don Bradley? 

Carter: We did a lot of work-ups in the press department on campaign 
materials, but I don t know who else did. Someone else must 
have been in the office. I can t tell you who did. Lou might 
be able to tell you. 

Fry: Were you in a position to know how much control Pat Brown had 
over all this? 

Carter: No, I wasn t really. I know he didn t come in the campaign 
office at all. 

Fry: He was out meeting voters? 
Carter: Yes. 

Fry: What about relationships with grass roots organizations in the 
communities . 

Carter: We had lots of volunteers coming in. I couldn t tell you who 
was coordinating that because I can t remember, but we did 
have volunteer coordinators. When you re working in the press 
typing speeches and doing the press releases, you get totally 
involved with that. You really don t even see what else is 
going on outside of that department because that s a very 
time consuming job. 

There were so many people reading the speeches that they 
were changed a lot, in the campaign. That wasn t really because 
of the Governor. It was because everybody in our campaign 
office seemed to want to read the speeches, and they d all 
have their own changes to make. 



Fry: 



They were sending their changes to you? 



Carter: Most of the people making changes were right here in our office 
in L.A. If not, we teletyped the speeches to San Francisco 
or Sacramento, wherever the people happened to be, then had 
to wait for the changes to come back before we could get them 
out. So we were getting the speeches out just a few hours 
before we needed them during the 66 campaign. 

Fry: With all the changes incorporated? 

Carter: Yes. 

Fry: Then at what point did Pat have a say in all this? 

Carter: After they were pretty much all done. Down here Don Bradley 
liked to read them. Fred Dutton liked to read them. Hale 
Champion certainly always wanted to read them. The press 
secretaries Haas and Ringer and Kline all were reading them. 
If the speech pertained to a certain subject like mental health, 
then any other experts that the campaign might need from the 
different departments (directors, public information officers) 
would also want to read the speech. 

During the campaign a lot of these men travelled with the 
Governor or were in the San Francisco headquarters. So we were 
constantly teletyping entire speeches back and forth. We had 
a teletype right in the press secretary s office then. So we 
used that to make our changes on. 

If he happened to be giving a speech in San Francisco, 
we may have started down here writing it, got all the changes, 
and then teletyped it up to our San Francisco headquarters. 
Then they would be responsible for typing it for him. There 
are lots of outgoing things and it is always a deadline. You 
get so wrapped up in it you don t even know what s going on 
next door. [chuckling] 

Fry: What were your most difficult newspapers to deal with? 

Carter: Newspapers, I can t remember which ones we had the most trouble 

with. I can remember we had lots of problems with George Putnam, 
I think that was his name. He was a commentator on television, 
always giving us a hard time. He had his own news show. Oh, 
he was terrible. 

Fry: Where was he from? 
Carter: From southern California. 



15 

Fry: Was he a conservative in general? 
Carter: Yes. 

Comments on the 1966 Defeat 



Fry: Why do you think Pat Brown lost? 

Carter: Well, I think it was a combination of things. I think that 
the problems he d had up in Berkeley, the Watts riots a lot 
of people were just ready for a change. I can t say it was 
any one special thing. I think it was just a combination of 
people wanting a change, and the riots. The riots certainly 
had a lot to do with his loss. People just felt that maybe 
with the next person we wouldn t have those problems. 

Fry: Were you in the L.A. campaign office during the primary too? 
Carter: I m trying to think when I went over there. Yes, I was. 

Fry: A lot of the Democrats thought that [George] Christopher might 
win and that he would be the harder candidate to beat. 

Carter: In retrospect, I think that was a mistake though. But I know 
a lot of people said they felt it would have been easier had 
Christopher won the primary. It would have probably not been 
as disastrous for us. But, you never know. It could have 
been. 

Fry: There were a lot of big guns from Pat Brown s campaign, as 
I understand, pulled out against Christopher in the primary 
so that possibly Reagan would win. A lot of Pat Brown s attacks 
were directed more to Christopher. Is that your impression? 

Carter: Yes, a lot more attacks were directed to Christopher than to 
Reagan during the primary. Someone who could tell you about 
that would be Harry Lerner. That was the kind of thing that 
he did in the campaigns . 

Fry: Yes, he did pull out the milk scandal on Christopher, didn t he?* 



*Twenty-six years earlier George Christopher was convicted 

of a misdemeanor in connection with his dairy business. Columnist 

Drew Pearson printed the story during the 1966 campaign. 



16 



Carter: Yes, I think so. 

Fry: So, we can ask Lerner about the Christopher strategy. 

Do you think anything else that Pat had done backfired 
on him, besides the riots, which were sort of something nobody 
could help? 

Carter: No, I can t. 



Reflections on Brown s Achievements as Governor 



Fry: Do you remember anything from your press releases and so forth 
that you had to justify over Brown s eight years as governor? 

Carter: No. You can talk about all the good things someone has done, 
but people really don t listen. They remember the bad things 
or the things that make the headlines in terms of something 
they don t like. You could sit and tell people about the water 
project and how much good it was doing and about how our education 
system was improved. But people take those things for granted. 
They do not stop to think that one person might have been 
greatly responsible. Certainly our educational system was 
improved under Governor Brown 100 percent. But, people sort 
of take those things for granted because the things are there. 
They don t stop and realize, "Well, if Brown hadn t done this 
we wouldn t have it." But, on the other hand if there s some 
thing bad, then people automatically just take that in. 

Fry: Was this the main strategy of that campaign, to stick to Pat 

Brown s record as governor and just try to ignore all the negative 
attacks that were being made and to talk about his programs 
and budgets? 

Carter: As far as I can remember from typing speeches, I d have to say 
yes. But I was not involved in anything else. I was involved 
in doing his speeches, and basically that s what we were talking 
about, his programs and what he had accomplished. 

Fry: When you were working in the Sacramento governor s office from 
62 to 64, did you get in on any of the campaign against Nixon 
in 62? 

Carter: No, I really did not, other than what relfcted to the office 
in Sacramento. 



17 



Fry: Were you there before the election? 

Carter: Yes. Most of the press releases and things going out from 
our office, though, were more state related. You have to 
keep the two separate. So I was into it only insofar as you 
deal with the campaign offices by giving them information, 
or you try to help them. But you have to keep the two so 
separate, you know. 

Fry: Yes, you have to use your campaign finance funds for one 
Carter: For one thing. You have to keep the two so totally separate. 

Fry: How did Pat do that? In Earl Warren s office they did try to 
put everybody on a totally new payroll that was outside the 
governor s office when he had to run for governor. 

Carter: That, I guess, is why we had the campaign offices separate and 
apart and not even in the governor s office. As I did in 66 
when I left the governor s office downtown and went to the 
campaign, I went on the campaign payroll and my state pay stopped. 
So you then go on the campaign payroll, which is financed by 
your fundraising. 



Pat Brown After the Governorship 



Fry: Then after that campaign was over and lost, did you move here 
to the law office with Pat? 

Carter: I did. First we went back to the governor s office until 

December, until the end and cleaned up and packed our files. 

Fry: For The Bancroft Library. 

Carter: We did whatever else had to be done. I didn t come here im 
mediately with him. We had talked about it. He was going 
on a trip I think to South America. I can t remember where 
he was going to go. In the interim I had had another job offer 
and I took it. I went there for about three months. By then 
he had come back and he called me, and so I came back over 
here. So I was gone for those few months there in the beginning. 

Fry: So you ve been working for Pat for eleven years. 

Carter: Longer than that. 

Fry: I mean after his governorship. 



18 



Carter: Oh. Oh yes, afterwards. 

Fry: You can help a lot, then, in giving us an idea of Pat Browns s 
many projects after he left the governor s office. 

Carter: Yes, probably. 

Fry: That s hard to gather up because he has not had the exposure 
to the media since he left office. 

Carter: No, he hasn t. 

Fry: This is Ball, Hunt 

Carter: Hart, Brown and Baerwitz. 

Fry: Thank you. Ball was on old friend, wasn t he? 

Carter: Joe Ball and he were friends for years and years, right. 

Fry: What is Pat s function in the law firm? Is it mainly to attract 
business? Or did it evolve? 

Carter: I guess it s evolved a lot. He s never practiced law per se 
as to going into court, because most of the judges are judges 
he s appointed, although there are getting to be fewer of them 
now; there s a few new ones. But, he had never done that kind 
of practice. I don t think I ve ever typed a complaint or a 
pleading for him since we ve been here. 

He brings in business, certain kinds of cases that are 
dealing with state agencies or with the federal government. 
He s very good at negotiating these kinds of things and sitting 
these people down and meeting and working out whatever their 
problem might be. Those kind of cases he does handle himself. 
If somebody might be having trouble with a state agency or 
whatever, he can get the people together and sit them all down 
and talk it all out and get this person to do a little bit more 
and this person to do maybe a little less. He can get them to 
work out their differences. 

Fry: Are these things like government contracts? 

Carter: No, not really contracts. I m trying to think of a for- instance. 
For instance, just lately he s had this school for autistic 
children that was having trouble. They had a license from the 
state and they were having some problems getting the state to 
renew their license. So he went to the Department of Mental 
Hygiene, and he s been talking to the department and working 
with these people at the school so that they understand what 



19 



Carter: 



Fry: 

Carter: 

Fry: 

Carter: 

Fry: 

Carter: 

Fry: 

Carter: 

Fry: 

Carter: 



Fry: 

Carter: 

Fry: 

Carter: 

Fry: 

Carter: 



the state expects out of them if they want their license. 
I don t mean he s saying to the state, "Hey, you have to give 
them this because they re my client." But he s good at dealing 
with those kinds of problems and sitting all these people down 
and getting the school to say, "Okay, we ll go along with the 
rules," and "Now we understand." He s very good at that kind 
of thing. 

Also he s with an oil company. 

Yes. 

What s the name of that? 

Perta Oil. 

Is that the Indonesian one that he s always refering to when 

he travels to Indonesia? He told me that they did get a contract 

to import so many thousands of gallons of oil. 

Yes, they have some contracts. I couldn t tell you what their 
contracts are. 

Is that a part of the law firm? 

No, they re not. No, that has nothing to do with the law firm. 

At some point Pat mentioned too that he has some interests 
in the steel industry now. Do you know ? 

Well, I can t tell you what their structures are up there. 
But, USIIC [United States International Investment Corporation] 
and Perta Oil offices are together. The same people work and 
are on both those boards. So, they do. USIIC deals in steel. 

Is there someone else here in the firm who is also in Perta 
Oil, one of the partners? 

No. His old friend, Joe Alperson, used to own the steel company. 
He s upstairs. 

I just remember meeting somebody in steel at lunch with Pat 
one day . 

Maybe it was Mr. Alperson. An older man? 

Yes. 

Probably, because Joe and he have been friends for years and 



20 



Carter: years, going way back to when he was in public office. 
Fry: Yes, they had been old, old friends. 

Carter: Yes, that s probably who it is then, Joe Alperson. He s on 
the tenth floor upstairs. 

Fry: What else has Pat been interested in? 

Carter: Let s see. He s probably told you, after he came to the firm 

he was special ambassador to the isle of Tonga. That was during 

the Johnson administration. He went over to Corregidor as 

a special ambassador when they dedicated a monument over there. 

He was appointed to the Income Maintenance Commission. That s 

the commission, I think, that was to study the welfare program 

and make reccomendations for reforming it. That was a presidential 

commission. 

Fry: From Johnson? 

Carter: I think that was under Johnson. It doesn t sound like welfare 
at all, but that s what they did; they studied welfare. In 
fact, I think I have a couple of their reports that they finally 
came up with. 

Fry: Is that commission still around? 

Carter: It s no longer in existence. They ve made their report. That 
was years and years ago when we first came to the law firm. 

Fry: We d like to have a copy. 

Carter: It s a thick report. 

Fry: Yes, somehow they always are. 

Carter: The Income Maintenance Commission was composed of attorneys, 
some big businessmen, and I think there were some congressmen 
or representatives on there too. They went around to different 
areas throughout the United States and had meetings with the 
people, with the administrators of the different systems. Then 
they wrote to the president on what they reccomended for reform.* 



*Poverty Amid Plenty: The American Paradox. The Report of 
the President s Commission on Income Maintenance Programs. 
Ben Heineman, chairman (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing 
Office, 1969). 






21 



Carter: Ben Heineman was chairman of that commission. 

Then, of course, Pat Brown was chairman of the commission 
to reform the federal criminal code. That commission is no 
longer in existence per se. But, their reccomendations are 
still in the form of bills.//// 



Fry: 
Carter: 



Fry: 



Carter: 



Fry: 

Carter: 

Er_y: 



He was appointed to this in the Nixon administration? 

I m going to have to check the date and make sure, but I think 
it was Nixon who appointed him to this commission.* 

There was a Professor Louis [Brown] Schwartz from Pennsylvania 
Law School and Bob Kasten and Abner [Joseph] Mikva. I have 
a list of them if you want them. It s probably easier than 
trying to remember who else was on that commission. There were 
several judges on there and some attorneys. Their reccomendations 
are still in the form of bills. I guess it s been two years 
now, and each year the bills that they present get chopped 



up till nobody agrees on them, 
one again. 



Then they start all over ground 



That s Senate Bill 1, that was handled this year when the Congress 
opened. Walking the tightrope betweeen the civil liberties 
people and the law enforcement community is the job of this 
commission, I gather. 

Right. They ve gotten ideas from everybody, and now they re 
trying to get something passed that s agreeable to everybody. 
But, every year it just gets to the point where the bill doesn t 
look like anything anybody will accept, and then it just sits. 

Once it goes through the committee procedures in the Congress 
The bill has changed so radically that they can t accept it. 

Is there anyone in particular in Congress that Pat Brown is 
corresponding with? 



*Lyndon Johnson appointed Brown to the commission in 1966. 
Its report was submitted to Richard Nixon in 1971. See: U.S. 
National Commission on Reform of Federal Criminal Laws. Final 
report: a proposed new federal criminal code. 
Sr., chairman (Washington, D.C.: 
1971). 



Edmund G. Brown, 
Government Printing Office, 



22 



Carter: He s been writing to all of the congressmen who were on the 
commission. Senator [Edward] Kennedy has now picked up on 
this. He was not on the commission, but he is now working on 
SB1. So, he [Brown] has corresponded with him. Ted Voorhees 
was an attorney who was on that commission. Now he s back 
at Catholic University in Washington. He s working a lot with 
the congressmen on the legislation to get it through this year. 
Governor is sort of using Voorhees and Lou Schwartz at Pennsylvania 
Law School as coordinators. They get things for him and com 
municate with him, and if there s anything they need from him 
he s more than happy to do it. In fact he s going back to 
Washington on June 7 to testify, they re presenting a form of 
this bill or some portion of it. He s vitally interested in 
getting that through. 

Fry: He s also on some kind of environmental commission here in 
the state, isn t he? 

Carter: Yes, the California Council for Environmental and Economic 

Balance. He s the chairman of that commission actually. Their 
offices are in San Francisco. Mike Peevey is their executive 
director. 

Fry: This is a council made up of both members from the businesss 
community 

Carter: And labor. They try to get environmentalists and economists. 
They have people from all walks of life. So, they get a good 
input into it. 

Fry: How long has this been going on? 

Carter: My gosh, that s been on for about four or five years now. 

Fry: Who created it? 

Carter: I can t tell you for sure. I have the first annual report 

that we put out.* I m not even sure if that gives the story 
of how it was first created. Did you ask him? 



*California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance. 
First Annual Report, Edmund G. Brown, Sr., chairman. 



23 



Fry: No, I haven t talked to him at all about this. 

Carter: He might be able to tell you. We can look at the report and 
see if it tells, but I don t think it does. 

He is still on that commission; it meets all the time. 
Fry: What has it produced so far in the way of paper? 

Carter: They ve produced tons of paperwork. The first year we got 

an annual report that told what their goals were. That might 
give you a little background on it. Since then they have set 
up committees on the clean air act and on all these different 
state acts. The council discusses them and makes recommendations 
as to whether or not they would be good. They re really trying 
to help keep some kind of balance 

Fry: Do these recommendations go into legislation that the Governor 

then tries to get through? 

Carter: No, I don t think so. Mostly what they do is have committees 

and work on things that are already a bill, to give their views, 
whether they re for it or against it. 

He s also a member of the Franklin Roosevelt commission, 
for the memorial in Washington. 

in there when he was talking to the architect, [Lawrence] Halprin, 
in San Francisco. 

Fry: Yes, I was. The Governor s position on this is as a commissioner? 

Carter: I guess that s what you d call him. He s not chairman. Gene 

Keough is chairman of it. So I guess you d just call the Governor 
a commissioner. I think Mr. Keough used to be a congressman years 
and years ago. I think he might have been a congressman or a 
senator years and years ago. 

Fry: So the Governor was on the Income Maintenance Commission, the 

commission to reform criminal law, California Council of Environ 
mental and Economic Balance and the Franklin Roosevelt memorial. 

Carter: He taught political science one semester out at UCLA. 

Fry: How did he like that? 

Carter: He enjoyed it because he enjoys talking with students. 

Fry: Was this an actual class? 

Carter: Yes, it was. 



24 



Fry: He saw it through from the beginning of the quarter to the 
end? 

Carter: Yes. 

Fry: Sometimes they bring in special people just for seminars. 

Carter: No, he actually went once a week out there to the class. He 
enjoyed it. 

Working for the Governor 



Fry: Could you describe how Pat Brown is to work for? 

Carter: He s a delightful person. He really is. He s just amazing. 

Fry: [Chuckling] I m amazed at how fast he can go on things, handle 

two or three things at once. 

Carter: He has not slowed down in the time I ve been with him at all. 
Fry: Things seem to run through his head simultaneously. 

Carter: They do. They do all the time. I notice it because when he s 
dictating a letter he s already to the end of that letter and 
on to the next one. He ll sometimes stop in the middle and 
start something new. He doesn t realize it. You ve heard 
him when you ve been in there when he s making phone calls. 
He s usually doing four or five things at one time, which 
is going to be the hardest thing for his new secretary to get 
used to, whoever she s going to be [chuckling]. 

Fry: Yes, that must be really very demanding on a secretary. 

Carter: It is. 

Fry: You have to sort it out. 

Carter: You have to sort it out and decide which he really wanted you 
to do and why and when. He s delightful to work for, but it s 
not easy. It really isn t. 



Fry: 



Does he ever lose his temper? 



25 



Carter: 

Fry: 
Carter: 



Fry: 



Carter: 

Fry: 
Carter: 



Fry: 






Very, very seldom. I ve seen him do it only a few times. 
Then it s really not at you. It s probably at a situation 
that s got him just frustrated. He may shout or 

Exasperation, you might say. 

Yes, just kind of scream or holler, and it s over that quickly. 
He really is not a person that ever holds a grudge or gets 
angry at any one person for anything. It s just more the sit 
uations that exasperate him. 

Well, I keep trying to talk to somebody who has worked for 
Pat Brown who could tell me a few of his shortcomings, and 
I haven t found anybody who is really willing to own up to 
any yet. 

He s just an amazing person. Like he s always saying he should 
slow down because he really shouldn t keep doing all these 
things he does. But that s him. 

He seems to be very vigorous and in good health. 

He is. He keeps a schedule that I would probably say most of 
our younger attorneys wouldn t be able to keep. He s in the 
office here in the mornings usually fairly early. I guess the 
latest he ever comes in is probably nine or nine- thirty. But 
he s already been up and reading at home or gone to a break 
fast meeting and then comes in the office. Then at six or 
six-thirty a lot of times he s still here on the phone or 
dictating. 

When he makes a trip to Washington or wherever he s going, 
if he has reason to stay he does. If not he goes to that meeting 
and he ll come right back and just make it a day trip or a day 
and a half, and he s right back in the office doing his work. 
He gets involved in so many things at one time. He really 
keeps going. 



I really do thank you. 
like to cover? 



Do you have anything else that you d 



Carter: No, I can t think of anything else. 



Transcriber: Teresa Allen 
Final Typist: Karin Rosman 






26 



TAPE GUIDE Judy Carter 



Date of Interview: 24 May 1977 
tape 1, side A 
tape 1, side B 21 



27 



INDEX Judy Carter 



Alperson, Joe, 19 

Anderson, Glenn, 7 

attorney general, office of, 7-8 



Ball, Joe, 18 

Billet t, John, 8 

Bradley, Don, 11-12, 14 

Brown, Edmund G.,Sr., 2, 6, 7, 10-11, 13 

after 1967, 17-25 

speeches, 1-2, 13-14 



Champion, Hale, 14 
Chick, Bob, 7 
Christopher, George, 15 



Out ton, Fred, 12, 14 



election campaigns, ballot measures 

Proposition 14, 1964, 3-5 
election campaigns, Calif. 

1966 gubernatorial, 11-17 
Environmental and Economic Balance, Calif. Council for, 22-23 



fair housing 

1964 ballot measure, 3-5 



governor s office 

in Los Angeles, 5-11 
press section, 1-2, 17 



Haas, Lou, 3-4, 13, 14 

Kline, Dick, 3-4, 7, 8, 13, 14 



28 



law enforcement, 7-10, 21-22 
Lerner, Harry, 15 
lieutenant governor, office of, 8 
Luke, Sherrill, 6 



media 

governor s office and, 2, 7, 14 
Mental Hygiene, Calif. Dept. of, 18 



National Guard, Calif., 8-9 



Perta Oil Co., 19 
Pope, Alexander H. , 10 
Putnam, George, 14 



race relations, 3-4, 6-10 

Reagan, Ronald, 15 

Ringer, Roy, 7, 13, 14 

Rumford, Byron, 5 



Sikes, Patricia G., 2 

U.S. International Investment Corp., 19 



volunteers 

and election campaigns, 13 



Watts, 1965 riots, 6-10 



Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 



Governmental History Documentation Project 
Goodwin Knight/Edmund Brown, Sr. , Era 



Norman Elkington 

FROM ADVERSARY TO APPOINTEE: 
FIFTY YEARS OF FRIENDSHIP WITH PAT BROWN 



An Interview Conducted by 

Julie Shearer 

1978-1979 



Copyright (^\ 1982 by the Regents of the University of California 




NORMAN ELKINGTON 



TABLE OF CONTENTS Norman Elkington 



INTERVIEW HISTORY 



I THE EARLY YEARS 1 

Meeting Pat Brown 2 

Pat Brown: From Republican to Democrat 4 

The Order of Cincinnatus 6 

Distinguished Republicans from Democrats 1932 7 

The New Guard, Precursor to the Order of Cincinnatus 8 

Cincinnatus Reform Slate 9 

II DISTRICT ATTORNEY DAYS 11 

District Attorney Campaign of 1939 11 

The Gambling Issue: 1943 District Attorney Campaign 14 

Closing Down the Abortion Mills 15 

Police Corruption and the Atherton Investigation 19 

Staffing the District Attorney s Office 21 

Reorganizing the District Attorney s Office 23 

Criminal Procedures in the 1940s and the 1970s 26 

The Alfred L. Cline Case 29 

Criminal Justice: The Rules and the Practices 31 

III RUNNING FOR STATEWIDE OFFICE 35 
The 1946 Attorney General Campaign: Lack of Billboards 

and Big Bucks 35 

Issues of the 1950 Attorney General Campaign 40 

Press Coverage in the 1946 Attorney General Campaign 41 

Problems of Campaign Funding 41 

The CIO-PAC Label 43 

Pat Brown s Political and Personal Style 47 

Pat Brown s Family 50 

Helen Douglas and the 1950 Campaign 52 

TAPE GUIDE 55 

INDEX 56 






INTERVIEW HISTORY 



California Court of Appeal Justice Norman Elkington is a member 
of that interesting political persuasion, a Republican supporter of 
Edmund G. "Pat" Brown. A friend since 1929, Elkington was also 
colleague, fellow Republican, fellow founder of the reformist 
political group New Order of Cincinnatus, chief assistant district 
attorney under Brown, Brown s campaign manager for the 1946 attorney 
general race, and chief assistant attorney general. Brown appointed 
him Judge of the Superior Court in San Francisco in 1959 and Justice 
of the State Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division One, 
in 1966. These oral history interviews recount an interweaving of 
their friendship, political fortunes, and careers. 

Born in Napa, Calif ornia, on May 26, 1903, Elkington moved with 
his family to San Francisco shortly after the earthquake and fire. 
There he attended public schools, until at the age of fifteen he 
dropped out of high school to join the army and fight in World War I. 
He served with honor in the army and navy for five years. After 
his discharge, he entered St. Ignatius Law School (later the University 
of San Francisco) where he was accepted as a special student at the 
age of 19 (his military service and experience as an electrician were 
considered equivalent to a high school education). In 1925, Elkington 
married the former Georgia Gilcreast. Two years later he received 
his LL.B., and four months later he was admitted to the Bar and entered 
private practice. 

Elkington and Brown first encountered each other as opponents in 
the courtroom of a referee in bankruptcy. Elkington recalled, "I 
won t say that an immediate friendship ensued probably the opposite; 
we were adversaries. I think it did start somewhere along the line." 
Then, more than two years later, "I was walking down Montgomery 
Street on a busy crowded sidewalk. I heard a voice, Hi, Norm. Do 
you need an office? coming from the other side of the street. It was 
Brown. He was very much of an outgoing, extrovert type. That s his 
way he d shout, Hi Norm, need an office? " 

It happened that Elkington did need one, and so in 1932 he moved 
into the Russ Building to rent office space with a group of attorneys, 
including Brown and his brother Harold. During this informal association, 
their friendship was cemented, so that when Brown said, " Norm, I m 
going to change my registration we were both Republicans to start 
with our paths kind of diverged, but not too much..," according to 
Elkington. In fact, when Franklin Roosevelt ran against Herbert Hoover, 



Brown would speak, for the Democrats and Elkington would speak for 
the Republicans at neighborhood improvement club meetings. However, 
they would go together in one automobile to make their respective 
speeches . 

Both were founding members of the New Order of Cincinnatus, a 
good government group of young professional men and women organized 
to focus political support on reform candidates of either party. 
Elkington remarks that their political opinions did diverge more 
and more as time went on, but the mutual respect and friendship 
endured. Brown backed Elkington in his unsuccessful race for 
supervisor as a member of the Cincinnatus slate. Elkington backed 
Brown for district attorney in 1939 and 19A3 and joined the DA s 
staff after Brown was elected. Elkington describes with admiration 
Brown s energy and vigorous prosecution of gambling and abortion 
operations which had generated graft and corruption of scandalous 
proportions. He recalls Brown s innovations in administration 
(full-time staff attorneys and efficient filing systems) and in 
criminal investigation procedures (the suspicion booking system 
recommended by Bert Levit, who was brought in by Brown to help 
reorganize the DA s office). 

With obvious relish, Elkington recalls the Alfred E. Cline 
case, in which six months of patient investigation and imaginative 
trial preparation paid off with a conviction of a multiple murderer 
on eight counts of forgery forgeries proved on the evidence that the 
forgery victims could not possibly have given their consent to 
signatures since they were dead (murdered by Cline) at the time of 
signing. 

Thoroughness and persistence against poor odds are traits 
admired by Elkington and attributed to him, as well. Five weeks 
before election day in Brown s 1946 race for attorney general against 
Fred Napoleon Howser, Brown called in Elkington to manage his AG 
campaign which had foundered for lack of funds and lack of billboards. 
Elkington agreed to take on the job challenging at best, hopeless, 
more likely. He found that Brown, never mind the campaign, posed 
a challenge to a campaign manager. Brown s easy-going attitude 
about publicity arrangements made Elkington tear his hair, and the 
candidate was too kind-hearted to read the speeches Elkington had 
written accusing Howser of links to a gambling-boat operation. 

They came to words over Brown s unilateral arrangement for 
a substitute speaker on a radio address that had been advertised 
statewide as a candidate s speech. Elkington hinted that he wanted 
to resign the campaign. Brown said, "Okay, if that s the way you 
feel, okay." Elkington spent the night stewing in self-reproach for 



ill 



"abandoning the campaign." The next morning at seven o clock 
Brown called Elkington to tell him how much he appreciated his 
help and to give him the day s assignment "all over again. Right 
back where I had left off the day before. I was the campaign manager," 
Elkington recalls wryly. 

Elkington was interviewed on December 31, 1978, and January 
11, 1979. Both interviews were conducted in the judge s spacious 
office at the State Building in the Civic Center in San Francisco, 
which houses the California State Court of Appeal on which Elkington 
sits as associate justice. The interviews were transcribed, edited 
lightly, and reviewed by Elkington, who made some corrections and 
added clarifying details. The transcripts were then typed in final 
form. At this point in the process, the legal agreements governing 
donation of the tapes and transcripts were mislaid, and Justice 
Elkington requested that publication be delayed until the transcript 
could be re-reviewed and the legal agreements signed. This was done, 
and after two minor corrections, the transcript stands. 



Julie Shearer 
Interviewer /Editor 



26 March 1982 

Regional Oral History Office 

486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 



I THE EARLY YEARS 

[Interview 1: December 13, 1978]//# 



Shearer: Could you give me a little summary of your career to give the 
listeners an idea of what you were doing at the time, when you 
first knew Pat. We have your birthdate in 1903, in Napa, but 
when did you come to San Francisco? 

Elkington: Right after the fire and earthquake. My father was a carpenter, 
and there was a lot of work for carpenters down here. So, it 
would be somewhere in the middle of 1906. 

Shearer: Where did you live then? 

Elkington: When we first moved to San Francisco? On 4447 20th Street. The 
corner of 20th and Eureka streets in San Francisco. 

Shearer: What was it like then? Rubble? 

Elkington: Oh, no, that part of San Francisco was not burned. It was at 
the foot of Twin Peaks. I don t remember any rubble in San 
Francisco. I don t know whether I even got down there [to the 
damaged area]; I was pretty young at the time. 

Shearer: Did you live in that same neighborhood and house throughout your 
time in San Francisco? 

Elkington: Oh, no, from there we moved to 3650 20th Street. It s there that 
I started at school. I was told that this was the north side of 
20th Street and that s just as far as the fire had progressed 
in the Mission District. It had burned down the house on the lot 



##This symbol indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has 
begun or ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 55. 






Elkington: 

Shearer: 
Elkington: 



on which another house in which we lived had been built. So, we 
moved to the very edge of the fire devastation and then we moved 
two or three other times in the Mission District. 



So, you attended all your early schooling in San Francisco, 
did you enter law school? 



Where 



Then it was called St. Ignatius Law School. Now it s the 
University of San Francisco. It was out on Hayes Street, right 
across from the old St. Mary s Hospital. 



Meeting Pat Brown 



Shearer: It was about that time that you met Pat Brown? 

Elkington: No, I didn t meet him until after I had been practicing a couple 
of years. We were not boyhood or high school friends as many of 
his other San Francisco friends were. 

Shearer: You went straight from law school, passed the bar and then right 
into private practice. And then when did you meet? 

Elkington: I represented some creditors of a bankrupt real estate operator. 
Pat Brown represented the bankrupt. Well, that s how we met, in 
the courtroom of the referee in bankruptcy. I won t say that an 
immediate friendship ensued probably the opposite. We were 
adversaries. I think it did start somewhere along the line; 
there was nothing that really made us unfriendly, one to the other. 
Now that s when I first met him. 

Shearer: Who won the case? 

Elkington: Oh, I don t know if you could say anybody won. The bankrupt is 
obliged to put all of his assets into the hands of a trustee in 
bankruptcy. I represented some creditors, Clarence Linn 
represented the others. Linn was a judge for a while till he 
was defeated by Leo Friedman and then he died a short time after 
his defeat. But he had been in the attorney general s office 
with Brown for several years. That s the sort of a case that 
nobody really wins. At least I don t remember any particular 
victory or any particular loss. 

Then, perhaps a year or two went by. I might have seen 
him in the meantime, I don t recall. And one day at noon, I was 
walking down Montgomery Street on the busy, crowded sidewalk, 
I heard a voice, "Hi, Norm. Do you need an office?", coming 



Elkington: from the other side of the sidewalk. It was Brown. He was very 
much of an outgoing, extrovert type. That s his way he d shout, 
"Hi, Norm. Need an office?" It just happened that I did, rather 
badly. I had rented a small space in the old Hunter- Dulin 
building, now 111 Sutter two private offices, one of which I 
sublet, and a office for the secretary. I was having trouble 
with my tenant; he wasn t paying his rent. (This was during the 
very bad part of the Depression, so I wanted to get out from under 
that responsibility. I was just a month to month tenant.) I 
paused and went over and I talked to Brown and asked him what he had 
in mind. He had just moved into the Russ Building with a group 
of lawyers, Brown, McDonnell, Mackin, and Brown. And there was 
Regis Swetmann, Ken Dawson and there might have been another 

Then I moved in it was just that he had some extra space 
there. I think he had obligated himself to fill up the whole 
space and he and his associates needed only about three-quarters 
of it. So, I took one of the little private offices there. We 
made an arrangement to share my secretary s services. Then another 
lawyer moved in and that filled up the office. There were eight 
lawyers at that time 

Shearer: That would be Brown, McDonnell, Mackin, Brown, Muldary and 
Elkington 

Elkington: Muldary and I were completely independent of each other and 

independent of Brown. We weren t partners; we just had office 
arrangements . 

It was there that I came to know Pat Brown quite well. 
Shearer: And that was about what year? 
Elkington: Thirty-two. 

Shearer: And do you remember when the bankruptcy case was? 
Elkington: Probably twenty-nine. 

Shearer: Do you have any vivid impression or recollection of how Brown 
impressed you as an attorney at that point or later on? 

Elkington: He was a very gregarious fellow. His interest always seemed to 

be political. He had a busy law practice, but his prime interest 
seemed to be politics right from the start. 

Shearer: You mean apart from his practice? 



Elkington: Well, he spent most of his time, I guess, in politics and not on 
his practice. That was quite unlike his brother Harold, who was 
just the opposite he just stuck to his law practice and dabbled 
in politics, but politics was secondary. Harold, by the way has 
always been a Republican. 

Shearer: That s what I understand. He told me that he and his brother 
worked both sides of the street on Brown s campaign. 



Pat Brown; From Republican to Democrat 



Elkington: So, that s how I met him. We were both young lawyers and this 
was the Depression there wasn t too much business coming in. 
We had a lot of time for other activities. I think I told you 
that there came a time when we were both Republicans to start 
with there came a time when he told me, "Norm, I m going to 
change my registration." 

Shearer: This was about 1934? 

Elkington: No, 1932. I think that s when Franklin D. Roosevelt first ran 
for president it was when Roosevelt ran against Hoover. I m 
not sure, he probably took office in 1933 



much. 



So, at that point our paths kind of diverged, but not too 



Shearer: How so? 

Elkington: Well, I was a Republican and he a Democrat. He d go to Democratic 
meetings and I to Republican, and that sort of thing. But not 
too much. We d go out together in one automobile and make our 
respective speeches and then move on. 



Elkington: I believe now that he was smarter than I at the time and was able 
to foresee the Roosevelt landslide against Hoover. I think 
perhaps he would tell you, and maybe it s true, that he just 
changed his economic or sociological or political views and became 
a Democrat, that I don t know. That s been a subject of discussion 
ever since, just why Pat changed. 

About then we became active I in the Republican party for 
Hoover and Brown for Roosevelt. 

Shearer: Excuse me, I just wanted to interject one thing. In Pat s 

interview, which I read not too long ago, he seems to recall 
actually giving speeches for Hoover with you in the early campaigns. 



Elkington: Well, I don t recall that, and it would have been quite early in 
that presidential campaign. He recalls that he and ]._ were 
speaking for the same candidate? 

Shearer: Well, he remembers that you, of course, were a Hoover supporter 
and that he actually gave a couple of speeches for Hoover, too. 

Elkington: Well, that could have been very, very early in the campaign, 

around the primaries, perhaps, of 1932. Because I know that I 
was actively engaged in the Republican campaign and I m awfully 
sure that he was just as actively engaged on behalf of Roosevelt 
at the time of the final campaign, just before the election. 

Shearer: That would be 1932 then? 

Elkington: Late October or September of 1932. We were good friends; he a 
Democrat and I a Republican. In the next year or two or three, 
other campaigns came along and I remember, I guess it was 1934, 
that C.C. Young was running for the Republican nomination for 
governor and George Creel for the Democratic nomination for 
governor. Against them, and I think my memory s right, was Frank 
Merriam, a Republican candidate for the nomination and also Upton 
Sinclair, a Democratic candidate. 

During the primary campaign, Pat and I went out and made a 
lot of speeches on behalf of our respective candidates. We would 
go out in one car; he in mine or I in his, and both go into some 
improvement club or somewhere and make speeches for our respective 
candidates . 

Shearer: You mean opposing candidates? 

Elkington: Well, they were not opposing then, in a sense. This was before 
the primaries, they were opposing other persons of their own 
party for the primary nomination. But in a sense they were 
opposing. And so we would just make our speeches, we d get up 
and go and move on to another one. And I guess we d make four 
or five or maybe seven or eight speeches an evening, different 
improvement clubs around the city. And I thought perhaps that was 
what he was thinking of when he said we made speeches together. 
I remember that very distinctly. 



The Order of Cincinnatus 



Elkington: About that same time in the early thirties there came down to 
San Francisco a young lawyer named Ralph Potts from Seattle. 
He was kind of an inspirational talker and a nice fellow and he 
told us it would be Brown [Pat], probably Harold Brown, and me 
and others of our age group, other young lawyers then about 
the activities of the Order of Cincinnatus in Seattle. 

It was a group of young men and women, mostly men, who came 
from different political parties and they were determined to 
correct the political atmosphere of Seattle, Washington. They 
were successful in electing one or two councilmen and, I think 
perhaps, the mayor. The mayor went on to become a candidate for 
president. (The name escapes me, I m sorry about that; it s on 
the tip of my tongue.) But anyway he told us about what they had 
done. We liked the idea and we organized the San Francisco Order 
of Cincinnatus. 

Shearer: Before you tell me more about Cincinnatus, can I backtrack just 
a little bit to ask you whom you backed specifically in these 
preprimary speech makings? 

Elkington: I backed C.C. Young, who had been governor. I think he was 
probably running for reelection. He had been governor of 
California, C.C. Young, and [was a] Republican. And Pat was 
backing George Creel, who was a very respected figure of the 
Democratic party at that time. But in that primary election, 
Frank Merriam got the Republican nomination and Upton Sinclair, 
the Democratic nomination. So our respective candidates were 
eliminated in the primaries; we didn t do too well for them. 

Shearer: Did you then go on to speak in behalf of the Republican and 
Democratic candidates later on? 

Elkington: No, I didn t. No, not I for Merriam nor Brown for Sinclair. 
But, this was a long time ago. I think my memory is right. 

There came upon the scene Ray Haight, Raymond Haight, who 
was the candidate for governor of the Commonwealth party of 
California. He was an able and pleasant person, and Brown and I 
and our group supported Raymond Haight for governor against both 
the Democratic and the Republican nominees, against Upton Sinclair 
and against Merriam. Raymond Haight [spells name] died a few 
years later; he was a fairly young man when he died. Otherwise 
I think you would have heard a lot about him. 



Distinguishing Republicans from Democrats 1932 



Shearer: Did you feel that it was a bigger dose of political instinct on 
Pat s part that occasioned his changing his registration from 
Republican to Democratic? 

Elkington: Well, in 1932, there was little difference between the Republican 
and the Democratic party. The Democratic party was not, at least 
in my opinion, the liberal party, nor the Republican party, the 
conservative party, as they appear to be today and as they have 
appeared for a long time. There was little choice between them. 

During the campaign of that year, one of the principal 
points that Roosevelt made was that he was against this Smoot- 
Hawley tariff. I don t know how you d place that, whether that 
would be a liberal attitude or a conservative attitude. But 
Roosevelt was against this "wicked and exhorbitant tariff" he 
talked about, and against spending money. 

Now he made speeches something like this: "I ve been going 
up and down this land for four long years" this was while he was 
governor of New York "preaching, We have to retrench our 
government spending, we re spending too much money, " and so on 
and so on. And then of course, it s pretty well known, that 
when he became president that was one of the least of his worries 
spending money. 

So, jumping from one party to another wasn t necessarily 
jumping from a conservative to a Democratic party, and didn t 
reflect the change of one s views as much as it would today. 

I am under the impression then that Pat was just smarter 
than I. At that time, I thought perhaps I was smarter, but since 
I ve come to feel that he was in fact smarter than I, because he 
chose the right party, or at least the party that elected its 
president, which has been the dominant party of the country ever 
since, I guess. And I think he likes to think it may be so 
and it may just be wishful thinking that he did some soul searching 
and decided that he should be a Democrat, Democratic liberal, 
[laughing] 

Then I think that perhaps because of our associations 
thereafter through the years, he a Democrat, you know, closely 
attuned to other Democrats and Democratic policies and politics, 
I a Republican and associating politically more with the 
Republican side, I think perhaps our points of view did diverge 
more and more as time went on. 



Elkington: But I m not at all satisfied that Brown just changed his 
political party as a result of soul searching. 

Shearer: What effect do you think the switch in registration would have 
had on the local scene. Wasn t it true that most people in 
San Francisco, I mean most elected politicians in 1934, were 
Republican? Or was party not very important? 

Elkington: Yes, really that s so, I think. In local politics, no one knew 
what the political affiliation of our supervisors and mayors 
were. No one knew and no one cared. 

Shearer: It was really nonpartisan? 

Elkington: It was truly nonpartisan. And I don t know just what the 

proportions would be, but I would say it was mighty close to 
two-thirds Republican, one-third Democrat in state registration, 
before the Depression and before Roosevelt s time. 

You wanted to go back before the new Order of Cincinnatus, 
have we done that? 

Shearer: I think we ve done that. 



The New Guard, Precursor to the Order of Cincinnatus 



Elkington: All right. Well, I m getting a little bit ahead of myself. Long 
before Ralph Potts came to San Francisco (that s the fellow from 
Seattle) , Brown and I and Lauder Hodges (and if I thought it 
through I could think of many other names) organized what was 
known as the New Guard. 



Shearer: This was about 1935? 

Elkington: Thirty-one or two. And the New Guard was just a new guard of 

young politicians. We enlisted quite a few young lawyers, young 
businessmen, and women, and we tried to become active and 
Influential politically. We backed some candidates and we were 
the New Guard. 

It was then that Ralph Potts came down. By the way, the 
New Guard, our thinking was that we didn t care whether we were 
Republicans or Democrats or what we were. We were out to bring 
about honesty and effectiveness in local government. 

Shearer: Was it quite evident that there was not good government at a 
local level? 



Elkington: We thought so and I still think so, yes. 

Shearer: I guess the Atherton investigations were later 

Elkington: That came around six or seven years later. 

Shearer: Was the situation of police graft existing then. 

Elkington: I m sure there was graft among police and politicians in those 
days. The Atherton investigation later corroborated that. 

But we were out to bring about clean government before the 
investigation was launched. It was then that Ralph Potts met 
with us from Seattle. The views, ideals, principles of his group 
in Seattle were closely attuned to ours, and we changed our name 
to the New Order of Cincinnatus , and pretty much carried on as we 
had but with added inspiration from Pott s experience up there. 

The candidate s name who I forgot a moment ago was named 
Langlie or very close to that, anyway. He became a United States 
Senator, I think, and was even nominated for the presidency; then 
he died at an early age. 

Shearer: This was the Seattle mayor. 

Elkington: The Seattle mayor Langlie or very close to that. 



Cincinnatus Reform Slate 



Elkington: So, Brown became the president of the New Order of Cincinnatus. 
One of the first things we did was to run a slate of candidates 
for supervisor. On the slate there was Elkington (speaking); 
Dewey Mead, a business agent of the Painters Union; George Read, 
a young Republican; and Julian Pardini, a Democrat two 
Republicans, two Democrats. One of the Democrats was a labor 
leader, and two were lawyers, and I and Julian Pardini. And we 
ran this ticket for supervisor. Only one of us won and that was 
Dewey Mead, the business agent of the Painters Union, but we had 
elected a candidate. That was really the springboard of Pat s 
political career, I would say. 

Shearer: Harold Brown gives you credit for really getting Pat moving in 
the political sphere. Was it mainly through the Cincinnatus? 



10 



Elkington: Oh, I doubt that. I think he, think he s [laughing] entitled 
to the credit for moving; he had an enormous amount of energy 
and I wouldn t take credit for getting him moving. I don t think 
that would be fair. I worked with him, helped him, but he just 
has, even today, an incredible amount of stamina and energy. 

Shearer: He seems to have a great love for just the stuff of campaigning. 
Does that appeal to you? Did that in any way? 

Elkington: No, no. No, not nearly on the level that it apparently has to 
Brown throughout his lifetime. I m more of an introvert, much 
more of an introvert than he. 

Shearer: So you were not particularly disappointed that your candidacy 
was not successful? 

Elkington: Oh, no, not at all. I often have thought that it was the best 
thing that ever happened to me. [laughter] 

Shearer: This was what year now? 
Elkington: That would be 1935. 

Shearer: There s a little discrepancy, ambiguity, whether it was 1935 or 
1936 that Cincinnatus was formed. 

Elkington: I m quite sure it was 35 that I ran. It was before the second 

presidential election. It seems to me that I remember Roosevelt s 
campaign was in the fall of 1932, and he took office the following 
year in March or April. And so then four years later would have 
been in the fall of 36. The supervisorial candidate was a year 
earlier than that; it would have been 1935. 

Shearer: Did Dewey Mead go on in politics. 

Elkington: Well, he continued on. I think he was reelected as supervisor. 
But unfortunately, whatever, he had domestic troubles, he had 
drinking troubles, and he died at a very early age. So he 
didn t go on beyond the board, but I think he was on the board 
of supervisors for five or six or seven years. 

Shearer: I understand that Cincinnatus did go on to elect almost a full 
slate of candidates to the board of supervisors. 

Elkington: Well, then four years after that, Cincinnatus and a group of 

others it was kind of a combination of organizations then, but 
the backbone of it was still Cincinnatus elected four candidates 
for supervisor. They were Chester MacPhee, Robert Miller Green, 
and Gerald O Gara. He s a municipal court judge now. So the 
four were elected and one other. 



11 



II DISTRICT ATTORNEY DAYS 



Elkington: That brings us to 39, the next incident I recall. That s when 
Pat Brown first ran for district attorney. 



District Attorney Campaign of 1939 

Shearer: You were pretty active in that campaign, I guess. 

Elkington: I think so. 

Shearer: Did you have an official title? Or how did you function? 

Elkington: I just don t remember. We ran doorbells and raised a little 
money and that sort of thing. But I don t recall I had any 
official capacity in the campaign. 

By the way, before I met Pat Brown he had been an unsuccessful 
candidate for the assembly as a Republican candidate; that was 
before I had even met him. 

Shearer: Yes, this was 1928? Against Ray Williamson? 

Elkington: Did he run against Ray Williamson? 

Shearer: Yes and he was defeated in the primary, I believe. 

Elkington: He would have been, because Ray Williamson was a very active, 
very successful assemblyman in those days. His son is a judge 
now, across the street. 

Now, in 1939 Brown ran for district attorney and was 
defeated by a very narrow vote, relatively so, I think by six or 
seven or eight thousand votes. Perhaps you know the figures, it 
was pretty close. 

Shearer: I understand it was close. 



12 



Elkington: He ran against Matthew Brady, who had been district attorney for 
twenty years or so, and Norman Cook. Norman Cook was commonly 
believed to be a crony of Brady s who always ran for election 
for district attorney when Brady ran, in order to split the 
an ti- incumbent vote. Some people thought that was smart politics, 
and perhaps it is. Any incumbent in office develops enemies, 
and Norman Cook split the anti- incumbent vote. Cook always got about 
ten thousand votes. He took votes that would have gone to Brown, and 
Brown lost by about eight thousand. And we liked to think that 
Norman Cook was responsible for Brown s loss in that election. 

Shearer: What were some of the campaign issues in that race? 

Elkington: Well, the campaign issue was principally the inadequacy of 

Matthew Brady. He never appeared in court. He was just a good 
friendly Irish politician, never tried any cases. The issues 
were that Brady s office wasn t very well handled. 

Four years later, there did develop an issue, if we can 
leave the first race. As I recall it now, while Brady continued 
on as district attorney, of course, some wife and mother had gone 
down to the district attorney s office, reporting that her 
husband had threatened to kill her and the child. (Her name 
escapes me.) And Brady did nothing. A short time after that the 
husband followed through on his threat. So that made quite a 
political issue, you see: "If only Brady had done something to 
help this woman she d be alive today," and all of that. That 
was the principal campaign issue that it was the fault of Brady 
and his office that this woman had died, and [the question was 
raised] how many other cases like that had occurred. 

Then Brown was elected. Brown asked me to come there with 
him and I did, and one of the first things we learned was that 
there s just an unending line of people who come into the 
district attorney s office claiming that husbands or boyfriends 
or somebody had threatened or was going to kill them. And if you 
did something on each of these claims you d have to double the 
size of the jails if you were able to do anything! And just 
threatening someone is not a crime, or at least ordinarily it s 
not. We soon learned to understand [laughing] why perhaps Brady 
hadn t done anything in this case, because it s only one time in 
a hundred or a thousand or ten thousand that people follow through 
on such threats, and there s no way for a human being to tell in 
advance just which are going to follow through and which are not. 

Shearer: Was this the subject of the grand jury investigation that took 
place 

Elkington: It could have been, I don t remember that. 



13 



Shearer: I think Brown was criticized after the grand jury investigation 
because one of the people who sat on the grand jury 

Elkington: Brown was criticized? 

Shearer: Yes, there was some question raised in the newspapers of that 
time. 

Elkington: Criticizing Brown or Brady? 

Shearer: Criticizing Brown, because apparently Brady was the subject of a 
grand jury investigation and one of the people who sat on the 
grand jury was a Brown supporter. Does that ring a bell? 

Elkington: No 

Shearer: It was during the campaign. 

Elkington: During Brown s successful campaign? 

Shearer: I believe so. 

Elkington: Well, a lot of things like that must have happened. I don t 

remember. It was kind of a bitter campaign, as many campaigns 
become, but I don t remember that Brown was criticized because 
a supporter of his was on the grand jury which had complained 
about Brady. 

Shearer: Which had complained about Brady, that s right. 

Elkington: Well, that wouldn t have been a very valid complaint if a 

supporter of his means a friend of Brown s. And probably there 
were several on the grand jury by that time, criticizing an 
incumbent. It doesn t seem to me to be a very grievous sin, 
if it did occur; at least I don t remember it. 

Shearer: I wonder if the report of this woman who was later killed by her 
husband was the occasion for the grand jury investigation? 

Elkington: Well, it could have been, it might very well have resulted in a 
grand jury investigation, but I don t remember it. 

Shearer: But you remember that incident as being significant in the 
campaign? 

Elkington: Yes. 
II 



14 



The Gambling Issue: 1943 District Attorney Campaign 



Elklngton: The morning of his successful election day [1943] , the San 

Francisco Exam-tner came out with a headline story reporting that 
Brown was uncovered as having been a tool of the gamblers and 
that he d represented gambling operations in California. It 
was said that he had organized a gambling club. We were all 
fearful that that was the end of it, that Brown wouldn t be 
elected, but he was. 

Shearer: What was this basis of these charges? 

Elkington: Well, it was based upon two things. First, Brown, I think, had 
organized a nonprofit corporation known as the Menlo Club. And 
in those days, there must have been 50 such clubs in town. They 
were around Sixth Street, in the Tenderloin and all over. They 
purported to be private clubs that would allow gambling. Anyone 
could become a member, and once you were a member you could go 
in there and you could gamble. Because it was a private club, it 
was believed, at least, to be immune (or the police treated them 
as immune) from the gambling laws: that is, you can gamble in a 
private club and you don t violate the law. 

Shearer: There was a law against public gambling. 

Elkington: Well, another later interpretation of that law was to the 

contrary. It was commonly believed and it was encouraged by 
the police, they didn t mind at all that you could gamble in a 
private club and it was all right to take a piece of the action, 
either half a dollar or twenty cents an hour, or a cut of the pot 
or whatever, for the house. Brown had done that [organized a 
nonprofit corporation] as any one of us [lawyers] might have done. 
We would have loved to have done that for the business. If 
anybody had come to me at that time, I know, and asked me to 
organize a nonprofit corporation, I would have done it. 

Another incident of Pat s life was that his father was one 
of these people who ran one of these clubs. His father s been 
called a professional gambler. I think I ve heard Pat himself 
refer to him that way. In a sense he was a professional gambler, 
because he ran such an operation, but it was certainly not in the 
sense of the professional gambler as we know them now the dealers, 
the floor man and the pit man and these people up in Reno and 
Las Vegas. But he ran this operation, while raising the Brown 
family. 

Shearer: Was he running this operation at the time of Pat s campaign? 



15 



Elkington: No, no. His father had since passed away. I remember his father 
well, but I m quite sure he had since passed away; at least he 
was no longer operating a social club. 

Shearer: Do you remember anything about his relationship with Pat? 
Elkington: Well, yes, I do. 
Shearer: Were they close? 

Elkington: Pat and I had our offices together for four or five years. We 
shared the rent and shared clerical and secretarial services and 
all. I remember I met his father many times. He d drop down, he 
was very proud of his boy and was a very friendly, nice, outgoing, 
Irishman, well liked. 

Shearer: When did you have the office together? 

Elkington: I guess I shared offices with Pat for about four years, from 

32 on to 36 or 37. So it was during that period that I often 
met his father. He was a very nice fellow [Edmund Joseph Brown] . 



Closing Down the Abortion Mills 



Elkington: But now that leads up to Pat s activities when he became 

district attorney. He had his mind made up when he was running 
for election and he sometimes mentioned it, but not too much 
then, but after he was elected that he was determined to wipe 
out the gambling operations in San Francisco. 

Shearer: Really? Why do you think that was? 

Elkington: No one knows. It could be that he took an oath to enforce the 
law, and by golly he was going to do it. I like to think that 
was primarily what was in his mind, and I think it was. 

Shearer: By then the interpretation of the law had shifted? 

Elkington: It shifted after Brown came in. One of the first problems were 
the three betting commissioners in San Francisco. Betting 
commissioners were people who would take bets on prize fights, 
football games, and elections. They just openly engaged in 
betting. Brown sent out the word that they were to stop their 
operations. They continued on a bit, and I don t know that we 
ever commenced any prosecution against any of the gambling 
commissioners, but they soon stopped operations. But there were 



16 



Elkington: also bookmakers all over town and, historically, almost every 
cigar store had its own little bookmaking operation. 
Traditionally, it was a felony arrest; the law said it was a 
felony 337A. I think it still is. You don t read about many 
arrests lately [laughing]. But let s see [reading] 337A, 
"Punishable as a felony. . .punished by imprisonment in the state 
prison," today. 

Shearer: That s for bookmaking? 

Elkington: And it was a felony then. There was also San Francisco s 

gambling ordinance, and bookmaking is per se gambling, and that 
would be a misdemeanor. So there d be arrests for misdemeanors 
and they d be fined with the usual twenty-five dollar fine. That 
was the end of it. Then they d go back to their bookmaking 
operation. And in many instances the proprietor of the book 
would know in advance that there was going to be a raid on his 
book and he would just get some poor guy to stand in for him and 
stand behind the counter when the police came in. This "stand-in" 
would probably get twenty-five dollars for his trouble, and then 
the proprietor would pay the twenty-five dollar fine and that 
would be the end of it. 

Well, Brown announced, upon his taking over, that bookmaking 
was going to be prosecuted as a felony in San Francisco. 

Shearer: What about the private clubs? Those, too, would be eliminated? 

Elkington: Nobody believed at the start that Brown really meant it. You 
can t prosecute them with felonies there d be a revolt or 
whatever. But he did. For the first one that was convicted 
Roach, I think Brown insisted on a year in the county jail. He 
wasn t willing to send this poor old fellow to prison but he held 
to a year in the county jail. The judge made it 90 days, which 
then was just an enormous penalty for bookmaking. Then Brown 
insisted on bookmaking arrests and the police made them. Whenever 
they arrested a bookmaker, he d be charged with felony. I won t 
say that that ended bookmaking, but it ended openly flourishing 
bookmaking (then there was bookmaking everywhere). It became a 
surreptitious, clandestine sort of an operation from Pat s time 
on. The gamblers generally knew that Pat meant business and that 
he wasn t going to tolerate gambling in San Francisco. As a 
result, these betting commissioners quit their operations and the 
private clubs went out of business. As a matter of fact, I 
remember working up a legal opinion overruling an opinion of a 
police lieutenant who was then on the police legal staff, and who 
had said that these private clubs were legal. 

Shearer: So, you were on the DA s staff at the time? 



17 



Elklngton: Yes, I m quite sure that it was I who worked up this opinion. 
Private club gambling was clearly illegal violation of the 
state gambling laws and we said so. That was the end of any 
of that sort of gambling excepting, I suppose, surreptitiously 
as it is carried on even today. 

At the same time, he took a stand against abortions. That 
was scandalous in San Francisco. Not the idea of having an 
abortion, so much as the political corruption that it entailed. 
Policemen were corrupted, politicians were corrupted from the 
highest level down to the lowest. The queen bee of abortions in 
San Francisco was Inez Burns (Inez Brown, and then she married 
Joe Burns) . Brown made statements that this was going to be 
ended, but they paid no attention to him. So, a plan was made 
to raid Inez Burns "abortion mill." It was planned with the 
utmost secrecy and careful preparation, but some police had to be 
taken into confidence. The time came for the raid, and the place 
was empty nothing going on there at all. 

So, another raid was planned, and this time with much more 
security. This raid also was conducted and once again there had 
been a tip-off; the place was empty. But Frank Ahearn, later 
chief of police, the "incorruptible cop" of that day was working 
closely with Brown and with the district attorney s office. He 
was much less close with the police department hierarchy. He 
was the incorruptible cop of the century, by anybody s test. 

When the raiding party descended they found the place 
empty again. Once more a tip-off it had to come from the 
police department. I m sure it didn t come from our office. 
Even in our office, there were only two or three of us who knew 
about it. 

So, Frank Ahearn said, "Let s go over to Guerrero Street 
and see what s doing?" (Guerrero Street was where Inez Burns 
lived.) We went over to Guerrero Street, and while most of us 
kept out of sight, a plainclothed policeman went to the front 
door, rang the bell, and the door was opened. When the door 
was opened, why then the police forced their way in. It would 
be much more difficult under today s rules of procedure, but then 
it was common practice. 

And there, waiting, were all of Inez Burns s nurses and 
orderlies in their white gowns and pants and white shoes even 
just waiting out the raid, ready to go back. They were waiting 
for a telephone call from someone saying, okay, you can go back. 

Well, they were arrested and a search was made of the house. 
In the closet a safe was found, and Inez was asked to open the 
safe. She fought and wouldn t do it, but finally she was 



18 



Elkington: persuaded to. There was no physical violence, but she was 

convinced she should. (They just wanted, it was said, to see 
what was in it, and then they d close the door.) She opened the 
safe, and here were just dozens of cubes, about 8 inches square 
or different sizes, wrapped in manila paper, just solidly 
packing the safe. I picked out one of them and looked at it. 
I just tore a bit of the paper, and inside the hole that I had 
punctured were the figures 100 from a $100 bill inside. We 
closed the safe very quickly and put the money back in we knew 
what was there; we didn t want to have the responsibility of that 
money. 

Inez Burns was arrested and it wasn t easy the grand jury 
refused to indict her. 

Shearer: So, there was a certain amount of public support for what she 
was doing? 

Elkington: Well, it wasn t public support; it was political pressure. People, 
I have always suspected, were reached on the grand jury, and they 
wouldn t indict. So, the case was taken down to Matthew Brady, 
the district attorney that Pat had beaten; he had become a 
municipal court judge. It was either Matt Brady or Harry Neubarth, 
one of the other of those judges. He held Inez Burns to answer, 
which is the equivalent of a grand jury indictment. She was 
tried Tom Lynch tried that case three times. The first two times 
the jury disagreed, under circumstances that we thought were 
highly suspicious. The third time Tom Lynch tried it before judge 
Ed Murphy, the jury was selected and immediately, without any 
forewarning, the judge said, "All right, now you re going to be 
sequestered during the rest of the trial. You can send home and 
get your toothbrush and change of clothes and whatever, but you re 
not going to be released now until this case is over." So, 
nobody could talk to a juror under those circumstances, and 
Inez Burns was convicted. She went to prison, got out, violated 
her parole, and went back to prison. 

Well, then there were several other abortionists; one was 
Alta Anderson, she went to prison. Abortionists carried on 
furtively from that time on there were numerous arrests but 
they were never openly flourishing the way they had before. 

In one of the arrests, let the subject go nameless, a death 
had occurred; a girl who had gone to one of these abortion places 
died as a result of the operation, so the police had a murder 
charge. Policemen were assigned to investigate and they ran 
around in circles for four or five days just couldn t get any 
lead at all as to what had occurred and where. Finally at the end, 
they learned that it was in a doctor s office. And our 
investigation showed that during the four-day period that the 



19 



Elkington: police had been unable to find any lead at all, there were 
frequent daily conversations between the home of one of the 
policemen and the head nurse of the doctor who had been 
performing the operations. 

It was obvious what had happened. When we finally found 
the doctor s office, there wasn t a thing no records, nothing. 
The obvious implication was that the nurse had been told, "Clean 
up everything, and let us know when everything is sanitized and 
we can go ahead and raid the office." 

I guess what I m trying to say is that when Brown took over 
he was a refreshing and cleansing thing for San Francisco. 
Whether or not gambling should be allowed, or abortion should be 
allowed now I think the consensus is that they should, but that 
wasn t the point. The point was that those things were just 
incidental to widespread police and political corruption and 
they were against the law. 

Shearer: So, you feel that the impetus for all the effort and dedication, 
rooting out these industries, was the elimination of widespread 
corruption, as much as actually stopping the practices? 

Elkington: More so. 



Police Corruption and the Atherton Investigation 



Shearer: What other things were pursued with that kind of vigor during 

Brown s administration as the district attorney? I believe the 
Atherton investigation was 1935 or 36. I guess that would have 
been the basis on which the office of the district attorney 
really learned about the widespread corruption among police and 
politicians. 

Elkington: This Atherton investigation was long before Pat Brown was elected; 
just how it started I don t know it started in a very small way 
and Atherton was an ex-FBI agent who was employed to make this 
investigation. After he was employed, nobody heard about it and 
everybody forgot about it. In the meantime he was really working 
up a case. 

He learned all about police corruption. The McDonough 
brothers operated a bail-bond business down on Kearney Street. 
They were really the bosses of San Francisco. According to 
Atherton if anyone wanted to run a book or an abortion mill, or 
any illegal activity, you had to have the consent of the McDonough 



20 



Elkington: 



Shearer: 



Elkington: 



Shearer: 



Elkington: 



Shearer: 
Elkington: 

Shearer: 
Elkington: 



brothers. If you wanted to run a sizeable book, you d clear 
it with the McDonough brothers; they d clear it with the proper 
police and political authorities. 



How did they become so powerful? 
amounts of cash? 



Because they had access to big 



I don t know. It s the political boss syndrome. San Francisco 
had another political boss, Tom Finn, at the same time, but he 
was a benign, nice guy who wanted to help his friends. So his 
friends helped him. Tom Finn was not a bad man; but he was a 
political boss. But then there were others, according to 
Atherton, who used their power and influence for criminal or 
corrupt activities. Tom Finn was not corrupt, although he and 
the others sort of paralleled each other for a good many years. 

When the Atherton investigation was reported, one of the 
things that I remember so well is the disclosure that a police 
sergeant had called the McDonough brothers and said, "This is 

Sergeant , Mr. McDonough, I ll be down to pick up the 

envelope, but this time don t put my name on it." The sergeant 
was the bagman, according to Atherton. He later became a highly 
placed police officer of San Francisco. 

Even after this? If the Atherton investigation was in 1935-36, 
then the report must have been somewhat later. 

It came out quite a bit later. I seem to remember that people 
were saying that this was a useless expenditure of money, that 
here you hire these people to investigate and nothing has been 
done and so on. And people thought just that that nothing had 
been done. All of a sudden Atherton came out with his bombshell. 

But not in time for the 1939 election? This was not an issue? 

I think it was before 1939 I have 38 in my mind my guess is 
that the Atherton investigation started in 35 or 36, but that 
the report came in 38. 

But it wasn t used by you and Pat during the 1939 campaign? 

You ve triggered my memory. The Atherton investigation was the 
center of the first campaign of Brown complaining about the 
inadequacy of Matt Brady who did nothing about it, and, perhaps, 
he himself was suspect and that sort of thing. The first campaign 
of Brown s for district attorney was centered around that. 

Four years later, when the Atherton investigation was 
history, the principal issue was that poor lady who was killed by 
her husband Brady had done nothing for her. 



21 



Elkington: You asked me what the first campaign was about: It centered 

around the Atherton investigation and I m certain that the report 
came out a year or two before Brown s first unsuccessful try for 
district attorney. 

Shearer: It almost sounds as though the measure of the truth of the report 
was the fact that everyone was so well paid that nobody wanted to 
oust Brady. Was the corruption so wide spread as that? 

Elkington: A very cozy relationship. In those days, politicians got 

campaign contributions, and policemen were paid off from top to 
the bottom, with some and perhaps many exceptions. It s a very 
cozy relationship for a policeman or a politician. The 
politician always knew where he could go to get campaign 
contributions. Under those circumstances, every bar in town 
would put up posters for favored candidates. But it was corrupt 
from top to bottom. Brown knew it. Brown, I think you could 
say, was just sort of a bit of fresh air in San Francisco s 
political-civic life for a good many years. He just turned things 
around. And then Lynch came along. 



Staffing the District Attorney s Office 



Elkington: Tom Lynch was his chief deputy and carried on. 
Shearer: I thought you were also chief deputy? 

Elkington: No. When Brown was elected, Lynch and I were soon asked to 

come into the office and we had the two top jobs, and there was 
no chief 

Shearer: What was the top job called then? 

Elkington: Well, I d say there were two top jobs, because they were paid the 
same. One was head attorney and one was chief attorney, but they 
were paid the same. Theoretically, I think the chief attorney 
was the top job and that would be Lynch; I was the head attorney. 

Shearer: Were your duties different? 

Elkington: Not much, not really. We got along very well, and when one was 
around, he was in charge. The duties were pretty much the same. 
It happened this way, as I recall. One day, Brown took us both 
to lunch and he said, "I m going to have to appoint a chief 
assistant, who will it be?" (He asked both of us.) And I pointed 
to Lynch and said, "Here s your man." I think I might have been 



22 



Elkington: kind of selfish about it. At the time, I was carrying on 

something of a private practice (didn t have much time for it, 
but I still was). Perhaps that s why I was so generous, I m 
not too sure. 

Shearer: Was Lynch pleased? 

Elkington: Well, I guess so, but we were always very good friends. So he 
became the chief and I think I was called the "chief trial 
lawyer." 

And after six or seven years, I decided to leave the office. 
I went into private practice with Judge Peery, who just retired 
from the superior court the other day. 

Shearer: When was that? 
Elkington: The year end of 1948. 

Shearer: I have a note here that you were chief of the superior court; when 
was that? 

Elkington: Well, this is what happened. I went into private practice and I 
did that for a couple of years. I had a health problem (which 
would be another long story). In the meantime, Pat Brown was 
elected attorney general. That was a Democratic campaign that I 
had nothing to do with. Well, 1 had managed his campaign for 
attorney general in 1946 unsuccessfully; in his first try I 
managed that campaign. But the second time around, that was a 
strictly Democratic operation and I had no part of it. I supported 
him but 1 was not at all active in the campaign. 

But he was elected, and Tom Lynch was appointed district 
attorney in his place. Tom Lynch rang me and asked me if I would 
come back as his chief deputy. I was working hard trying cases, 
and it was affecting my health. First I told Tom, "Thanks a lot, 
but I m not interested; I just left there a couple of years ago." 
He said, "Well, think it over." And I did. I thought perhaps 
that would be a good thing for me to go back and get out from 
under the heavy pressure of my private practice. So, I did. 

I was with Lynch from 1951 through 1959 and I was chief deputy 
during all that period. And I don t know about chief of superior 
court. That was the expression you just used? 

Shearer: Yes, and I think that was Pat s description. 

Elkington: Well, that might have been a euphemism for chief trial deputy 
chief of the superior court. 



23 



Shearer: I understand that Brown took steps to integrate the DA s office. 
He appointed Cecil Poole and an attorney named Jack Chow, is 
that right? A Chinese and two women, as well. Now was that part 
of the "breath of fresh air"? Was that something that hadn t 
been done before? 

Elkington: Perhaps, I don t think though that it was an affirmative action 
campaign to bring in women or minority members, but there was no 
aversion to that anyway. And there might have been earlier. 
Cecil, a black, is one of the finest lawyers I have ever known. 

Shearer: But were they the first? 

Elkington: I think that would be smart politics. Brady had women in his 
office. He had two or three women. It was Edith Wilson, one 
of the girls, she stayed on with Brown she had been with Brady. 
Then Janet Aiken came along, and Doris Schnacke. 

Shearer: I think Doris was appointed by Brown, wasn t she? 

Elkington: She was a telephone operator when Brown took over. She was 

studying law at night and was admitted to the bar a year or so 
later. She was taken on as a deputy district attorney. 

Shearer: Did she try cases along with the rest of you? 

Elkington: Oh, yes. 

Shearer: Did she stay on there? 

Elkington: She stayed on till she got married about twelve years ago, I 

guess. But she stayed on. I think she outlasted Tom Lynch in 
the district attorney s office. And I think she left when Jack 
Ferdon was district attorney. I m not sure of that; it might 
have been right around that transition time. 



Reorganizing the District Attorney s Office 



Shearer: Brown apparently reorganized the district attorney s office, I 
understand, and was interested in modeling it after the Alameda 
County office. 

Elkington: Yes, the district attorney s office was a shambles when he took 
over. All of the deputies had worked part-time I think all of 
them. As I recall the picture, Brady would be allowed say $250 
a month for a deputy. He would use that money to hire two 
deputies; each would get $125 and each would be a part-time 
deputy everybody was part-time. 



24 



Elkington: Not only that, there was no filing system, no filing cabinets; 
papers were just piled up on floors and in corners. Few 
records. The chief clerk was one of these rare individuals who 
could reach into a stack of papers and pull out what he was 
looking for. If he died, his successor could never do that. So 
it was run that way for many years. Whenever anybody needed a 
paper, this fellow would find it. But, otherwise, it was a 
shambles. 

Another way it was: a policeman would make an arrest and 
then the lowly policeman some of them very smart and shrewd, 
some of them not having made his arrest, the accused would go 
through the municipal court. Ordinarily, he would be held to 
answer for the superior court. When he d get into the superior 
court, then for the first time the district attorney or a judge 
would take a look at the charge and often see that it was 
unfounded and made no sense. It would be dismissed. It was the 
arresting policeman, usually on somebody s hearsay statement to 
him, who would start the wheels of criminal justice in operation. 
That was subject to quite a bit of criticism. When Brown came 
in, he decided to correct it. 

So he brought in Bert Levit, a very able lawyer; he s still 
practicing. And Bert, I think, served but six months, just to 
reorganize the office. One of the things he did was to 
institute the "suspicion booking system." [Under this system] 
when an arrest was made, then the very next morning, a deputy 
attorney in conference with police inspectors and perhaps the 
arresting policeman, but usually the police inspectors (you 
know there s robbery detail, a burglary detail and all) they d 
go over the police reports and decide whether they had a case or 
not. Half of the cases were eliminated the next morning that 
was the end of them. 

That suspicion booking has continued ever since. The district 
attorney with the police, goes over the arrest reports every 
morning and screens out the bad ones. Only the better cases are 
brought to trial. In the old days, many such dismissals occurred 
everyday in the superior court. 

Shearer: Was this considered an efficiency move or something to protect 
the rights of the accused? 

Elkington: It s not only an efficiency move, but a humanitarian move also 
to put the booking into the hands of experts rather than the 
policemen who happened to make an arrest because someone said, 
"This guy did something to me." 

Shearer: Could you comment on other aspects of the criminal procedure under 
Brown s leadership? 



25 



Elkington: Well, before long it was gradual his deputies became full 

time. (I guess I was one of the last to yield to the full time. 
I put in a good day s work for the district attorney s office, 
but I also put in some work on my own.) That was a step in the 
right direction because, otherwise, as in the old days, a deputy 
district attorney would go to court in the morning and try his 
case and go back to his private office. So it certainly was an 
efficiency move, and I think you might call it a humanitarian 
move also. It properly organized the office and it did undoubtedly 
prevent many unjust convictions. 

There s something about it, once you indict or charge a 
person with a crime, a deputy district attorney likes to win, 
police like to prove their points, and that sort of thing. 
So even with the best of intentions, there s a strong desire to 
win which in some cases might interfere with a trial s fairness, 
unfortunately. I d say that was one of the big improvements that 
Brown instituted. 

When Brown took over as attorney general, he did the same 
thing he brought Bert Levit back and reorganized that office to 
a considerable extent, and for the better. 

Shearer: Was the suspicion booking something that he learned of from the 
Warren administration? 

Elkington: Well, there was criticism of the system under Brady, and it was 
pretty much developed by Bert Levit. When Brown took over he 
just wanted that straightened out and it was. 

Shearer: As district attorney, Earl Warren ran what s been described as a 
model office. I think in Pat Brown s oral history he said that 
he tried to pattern his office on that of Earl Warren s. 

Elkington: I m sure he did. Earl Warren s office was a model district 
attorney s office just an outstanding district attorney s 
office throughout the nation. 

Shearer: In terms of efficiency or humanitarianism ? 

Elkington: In terms of efficiency, incorruptibility. [siren noise] Earl 
Warren was a strong man well, the expression is that he d send 
his mother to prison if she had committed a crime. He was a 
"law and order man," a somewhat different image from that he 
later acquired. But he sent sheriffs to jail, policemen to 
jail he was just unbendable. He was going to do his duty as 
district attorney and there were no political implications 
involved at all, as far as he was concerned, unless just doing 
his work had itself a political implication. It worked out very 



26 



Elkington: well for him. I m sure I never talked about Pat modeling the 

office after Alameda County, but that might very well have been 
in Pat s mind. But I m sure our office during the time we were 
there was as incorruptible as had been Earl Warren s across the 
Bay. 



Criminal Procedures in the 1940s and the 1970s 



Shearer: What about the criminal procedures in terms of investigations, 
and rights of the defendants I believe that you mentioned that 
during the Atherton investigation there was "bugging" when they 
were trying to get the goods on the corrupt policemen. How was 
that handled? 

Elkington: We re talking about another day. Sometimes when we see, what I 

think to a considerable extent are vast improvements in the area 
of civil liberties and human rights and all, it s difficult to 
believe that there has been such a change. 

There was little emphasis upon the right of privacy police 
tapped bookmakers telephones. Just how many telephones they 
tapped, and whose I don t know. 

One of the finest policemen San Francisco has ever had was 
Charles Dullea, you ve probably heard the name. He was the 
chief of police and before that chief of inspectors for a long 
time. Charlie was just a smart, rough, tough Irish cop. And 
his favorite expression was to "roust em." Whenever any gangster 
came into San Francisco, Charlie Dullea "rousted em" and you 
know what that meant they got out of San Francisco fast. Now 
that s a violation of human rights; it was bad. But it wasn t 
altogether bad; San Francisco was, in those days, relatively 
free of crime and the influence of the mafia and mobsters. 

Shearer: This was in about what time when Charlie Dullea was there? 
Elkington: Charlie Dullea was chief of police in Pat s early days 
Shearer: That would be 1944 to 1946. 

Elkington: Four, five and six I don t mean to say that Brown was any 

part of that "rousting," but I m sure he wasn t appalled by it, 
nor was I as I and he would be today. It s just a change in 
thinking just hard for you young people to understand. 

Shearer: I can remember the police stories and movies of my childhood 
showing a very different approach. 



27 



Elkington: It s just hard to understand I got engaged in conversation with 
a young law clerk, just across the table, two or three years ago 
and we, somehow, got into a discussion of the sending of the 
Japanese to these camps during the war and all the horrible things 
that were perpetrated upon these fine citizens. She, of course, 
was rightly just appalled by it. 

I went through it. And I think anyone of us would have 
done the same thing at the time, as even Earl Warren did. We 
like to think we wouldn t. We believed then that airplanes 
were right over our heads they were about to drop bombs on us 
any moment lights had to be off at night, you couldn t drive an 
automobile with your headlights on, because any minute the "Japs" 
were about to come in and invade us. And not only that, there 
was the "fifth column" in Hawaii they were getting ready for the 
invasion. It was all hogwash as it turned out. But the "Japs" 
had bombed Pearl Harbor and that was an unbelievable thing. After 
that, everybody was ready and willing and wanting to believe that 
these other things would happen. 

In those days, we believed, I among them, I confess (although 
I never had any authority in the matter) that something had to be 
done about the Japanese that were in this country, because they 
were going to lend aid and comfort to the invading forces. And 
that s why they were sent to these relocation centers. It s hard 
for me to believe it now. It turned out that they were some of the 
best citizens we had during that war I ve heard of no instance 
of an American Japanese who had acted treasonably. 

It s almost impossible to project oneself back that far. So, 
when I say that, "Yes, there were a lot of violations of civil 
rights and one s privacy," and what have only lately been interpreted 
as constitutional rights, they weren t always considered so. 

Shearer: There were very different standards operating 

Elkington: Very different standards. But, yes, there was this bugging and 
"rousting" and those things went on. I don t remember being 
too irate about it and I don t remember Brown being too irate 
about it; we had a lot of other things to think about. 

Shearer: Was there unanimity among the prosecuting staff in the office 
about which of the criminal activities would get most staff 
effort? Did everyone agree that abortion mills were the gravest 
threat of the moment? 

Elkington: Of course, Brown was the boss. He made his decisions and we 

followed them. We might have advised, and in the lesser levels, 
Lynch and I might have been bosses. Pat ran the office. He was 
determined to wipe out this police corruption I have spoken about, 
and he did. 



28 



Elkington: Then, in the area of enforcing the hard line criminal law, there 
were innovations. For instance, under Brady and in the old days 
before Brown, when murders were committed policemen would be 
called to the scene, often inspectors. Some of the inspectors 
were unbelievably good policemen, but some of them were just 
terrible lazy and stupid and all. Police would be called to 
the scene and might make a good case, if they were good cops, 
and they might just botch it up horribly if they were not. 

Whenever there was a true homicide not if it s an automobile 
manslaughter; that s something else deputy district attorneys 
were assigned to be ready around the clock for a call to go with 
police inspectors to the homicide scene, where, from a lawyer s 
point of view, they would start preparing the case and endeavor 
to get statements and evidence. In those days, not too much 
attention was given to "Miranda" none was given; that rule was 
nonexistent. 

Shearer: So, the idea was to get in and get a confession 

Elkington: Well, there s nothing completely wrong with that as long as it s 
fairly taken, as long as it s an honest confession. If you don t 
do anything that would tend to extort a dishonest or untruthful 
confession. 

We had two very fine girls who were outstanding shorthand 
reporters who would spell each other and go with the investigating 
party. That went on all throughout Brown s and Lynch s terms as 
district attorney and perhaps it still does. That was an 
enormous advance in the technique of criminal law enforcement. 

Shearer: That was because you didn t feel that the level of competence 

was consistent enough on the part of the police to get the story 
right? 

Elkington: There were all levels of competence among police some of them I 
would stack up against any lawyer I know, but some of them I 
wouldn t but the deputy district attorneys added a professional 
competence, in the sense of legal professional competence, that 
wasn t there in the case of the average inspector. 

Shearer: So, all of you might be called at one time or another to go out 
on a homicide. 

Elkington: There were two or three or four that were very good at it. 



29 



The Alfred L. Cline Case 



Elkington: In our time there was the Alfred L. Cline case. [spells it] This 
case broke in San Francisco and we had to do something with it. 
Well, Harding McGuire, who was a deputy in the office must have 
spent three months traveling around the country with a shorthand 
reporter from our office, taking statements from various 
witnesses. We convicted Alfred L. Cline. The job that Harding 
McGuire did was unbelievably good I tried the case. He came back 
with about 150 statements that he d taken from witnesses all 
over the country. Alfred L. Cline s victims might have been 
from Maine or Los Angeles or Portland or wherever. He had jumped 
all around the country. 

The statements were brought in from these witnesses. I, 
getting ready to try the case, went through them and I just 
selected this witness and that witness perhaps twenty of the 150. 
And we convicted Alfred L. Cline with them. Now that couldn t 
have been done before, under Brady s or any other administration. 

Shearer: He must have had at least one victim in San Francisco for you to 
have been involved at all. 

Elkington: What happened was that a telephone call came into San Francisco 

from Chicago saying that, "My aunt, Mrs. E. Delora Krebs, married 
Alfred L. Cline. She has died and I think the circumstances are 
very suspicious." This went to the missing persons bureau, which 
was then the least respected of the inspector s bureaus. The 
inspectors went to the police records; they found the name of 
Alfred L. Cline and that he was convicted of attempting to kill a 
man down in Fresno about ten years before. So they became interested 
in it, otherwise they probably would have passed it off. 

So it developed that Alfred L. Cline had killed at least a 
dozen women around the country and in each case he would take 
all of their property. Sometimes he married them. He married 
this E. Delora Krebs, who was a very wealthy woman. So, we went 
out and arrested him. Then we sent out telegrams to all of the 
areas where we thought he had been involved in these crimes. 

It hit the newspapers, our arrest of Alfred L. Cline. We 
began getting letters from police departments and district 
attorneys all over the country, saying, "Hold Alfred L. Cline for 
us! Hold him for us!" And so we did. It wasn t easy, because 
you can t hold anyone too long under those circumstances. We 
were holding for other jurisdictions, because so far as we knew 
there was no crime committed in California or in San Francisco. 



30 



Elkington: So then the first thing that we know is that Houston says, "Release 
our hold, we don t want him; they think they haven t got a case; 
he had cleverly concealed all evidence. So one after another the 
reports come in and we wind up with Alfred L. Cline in jail we 
know that he s an arch criminal of the decade and nobody wants 
him; that s when Harding McGuire went to work, traveling around 
the country. 

We were able to get the estate of E. Delora Krebs to pay the 
expenses, and we just built up a beautiful case. 

We convicted him of eight forgeries that were committed in 
San Francisco there was no murder in San Francisco no murder in 
California. He had taken a woman from San Francisco in the last 
murder to Portland, Oregon, and that s where he killed her. We 
had no murder. 

Cline was here in San Francisco. From E. Delora Krebs, he 
had stolen some stock certificates here after he killed her, but 
he had killed her elsewhere. 

While he was in San Francisco, he wrote to the company this 
was about four-hundred dollars worth of stock, just a cheap little 
thing. He wrote to the company, signing her name, saying that she 
had lost the stock certificates and, "What do I have to do to 
replace them?" So they sent four affidavits and four undertakings 
(that s a bond), each of which had to be signed by her in order 
to get the new certificate they were quadruplicates of each other. 
So, when he got those, he signed her name on each of them, eight 
times, eight forgeries. 

Shearer: This was after she was dead. 

Elkington: Long after she was dead. We convicted him of eight forgeries. He 
was consecutively sentenced to Folsom and he died in Folsom some 
years later. But, in order to prove the forgery, we had to prove 
that E. Delora Krebs didn t give her consent to signing her name. 
In order to prove that she didn t give her consent, we had to 
prove that she was dead. We could only prove that she was dead 
by proving that Cline had last killed Isabel le Vanatta, but he 
killed her under the name of E. Delora Krebs. He had killed E. 
Delora under another name six months earlier. So, we proved 
that he was guilty of two murders we had to prove them in order 
to prove that he didn t have the consent of E. Delora Krebs. 
Cline was consecutively sentenced to eight fourteen-year sentences. 

Shearer: Was this a sort of a triumph of the office that was used by the 
Brown administration? 



31 



Elkington: We thought that was. Nobody else would have him and we convicted 
him. We were very proud, Brown and the rest of us, with some of 
the things we accomplished we were lawyers, we wanted to win. 
There were many other similar cases. 

[Interview 2: January 11, 1979 ]## 
Shearer: You were in private practice from about 1929 ? 

Elkington: 1928 through 1944. That s when Pat was first elected district 
attorney. 

Shearer: At that point you joined the district attorney s staff. 

Elkington: But I did still continue in my private practice to a much lesser 
extent for several years I just did both jobs. I think I did 
reasonably well by both of them I worked hard enough. 

Shearer: Was that common then, to have outside practice? 

Elkington: In Brady s office, Pat s predecessor, I don t believe that there 
was a full-time lawyer in the office. They d go to their private 
office in the morning until it was time to go to the Hall of 
Justice and try a case and then go right back to their private 
office. Many of them were seldom seen in the district attorney s 
office. 

Shearer: I remember your saying that full-time staffing was one of 
the changes that Brown made. 

Elkington: I was something of an exception, I guess. He wanted to have 

full-time deputies, the salaries were not very substantial, and 
it wasn t a very attractive thing to many lawyers. So, that s 
the reason I think he had to yield a little bit and allow some 
private practice at the same time expecting a sufficient amount 
of effort in the district attorney s work. 



Criminal Justice: The Rules and the Practices 



Shearer: Can you comment a little bit more on the criminal justice 
procedures, the policies, the practices of that time? 

Elkington: The procedures were quite different. It depends upon what you 
mean by procedures. If you mean the rules relating to criminal 
justice, they are completely changed over during the last twenty 
to thirty years. 

Shearer: Did the practices match the rules of that time or not so much? 



32 



Elkington: Well, the rules were ignored a great deal. 
Shearer: For example? 

Elkington: In the early part of this century, People v. Mayen [spells it], a 
decision of the state Supreme Court, said that once evidence 
against an accused has been obtained, the courts will not inquire 
into the manner in which it was obtained that if you have the 
evidence, you may use it. That was a rule sent for us from a 
very, very high level. It s something like Plessy v. Ferguson 
in the United States Supreme Court, which said that blacks were 
entitled to equal treatment, but that whites were entitled to 
separate treatment. Who were we to complain? Particularly when 
we were lawyers wanting to win our cases, as every lawyer does. 
So, here the law said, once you get the evidence, you can use it 
in effect, we don t care how you get it, in so far as the criminal 
prosecution is concerned. We certainly weren t critical of 
police officers who got the evidence the best way they could. 
At the same time, I m sure that we all had a very fine sense of 
the necessity of not convicting innocent people. If the evidence 
was unreliable, that was something else, but if the evidence was 
obtained as a result of a Fourth Amendment violation, I doubt if 
we even thought of it in those terms then, or as a result of a 
Miranda violation we didn t think of that in those terms. Miranda 
is the rule that requires a policeman, before he takes an 
admission or confession from an accused, to advise him of his 
right to counsel, of his right to remain silent, and the fact 
that what he says might be used against him. That s a very 
important rule today, just as that Mayen rule was. That was the 
rule that said, no matter how you get your evidence, it may be 
used. 

I spoke of the rhyming it was in 1954 when People v. Cahen 
(Mayen, Cahen) came out, which completely reversed the rule of 
People v. Mayen and said that evidence unconstitutionally 
obtained may not be used. We did, in the latter part of my years 
in the district attorney s office, respect Cahen. 

Shearer: How was compliance achieved? How would you characterize the 
degree of enthusiasm and adherence? 

Elkington: Immediately, upon Cahen, if the evidence was obtained as a result 
of a Fourth Amendment violation, that is, a violation of one s 
reasonable expectation of privacy an unreasonable invasion of 
one s home or person without a search warrant, or without probable 
cause in certain other areas that evidence, if it were improperly 
obtained, could not be used. 



33 



Elkington: I think an illustration would be, and it wasn t at all uncommon 

in those days, for a policeman just to stop a person on the street. 
Usually, it was some person they had good reason to suspect of 
criminal activity just to stop them on the street and search 
them. They might find a gun. Okay, they d charge him with being 
an ex-convict with a gun or they might find narcotics or whatever, 
and they d use it. And those were the situations, where under 
the law, we the prosecutors, were permitted to use that evidence 
freely, without inquiry. 

Shearer: How does that relate to the practice of suspicion booking that 
Brown instituted? 

Elkington: They had something in common. Suspicion booking was more a 
practice of an organized, scientific, administration of the 
office. When Brown instituted the suspicion booking practice, 
it didn t interfere at all with our practices under May en to use 
whatever evidence was brought into us. Prior to Brown, as I 
think I ve said, policemen would make any kind of an arrest, and 
the policeman would charge the accused with whatever he thought 
the crime was there might be good evidence, there might be no 
evidence. The policeman arrested him, so he was booked and the 
matter very quickly comes before the district attorney. The deputy 
district attorney simply typed up a complaint and filed it and 
charged the accused. It went on through the courts until it 
reached the superior court 

Shearer: Following the direction of the arresting officer 

Elkington: Solely based on what the policeman had done. Well, there was 
a halfway point, that would be the preliminary hearing, where 
the determination [would be made as to] whether there was 
probable cause. That would weed out some cases, but not very 
many, because you need very, very scant evidence to obtain a 
holding at a preliminary examination. The only purpose of the 
preliminary examination is to determine whether the accused 
should be tried, not whether he s innocent or guilty. 

So, for all practical purposes, the case came to the 
superior court on the strength of the policeman s view of the 
arrest he had made. After it got there, then the cases were 
often dismissed when they found there was no evidence, or 
whatever. 

We weeded out those cases it was a benovolent practice, 
because for those who otherwise would have gone through the mill 
of the criminal justice system up to the superior court, the 
procedure was never even started. They were screened out and 
dismissed right at the start. 



34 



Elkington: Now that doesn t have any real relation to the Fourth Amendment, 
People v. Cahen and the Miranda Rule. 

Shearer: It was not a response to any instance? 

Elkington: It was just a desire to run the office more efficiently and it 
was. I told you Bert Levit, an attorney, managed it and did an 
excellent job. 

Shearer: About 1948, you were still practicing in the DA s office and 
privately. 

Elkington: Well, up to January 1, 1949, yes I was. Officially and privately, 
I guess you could say. I don t think that anyone has said that I 
didn t do what I should have done so far as the city was 
concerned. I think I worked pretty hard. I know there were 
times, trying cases, I d get to the office two o clock in the 
morning ready for the day s work. 



35 



III RUNNING FOR STATEWIDE OFFICE 



Shearer: It just sounds like a marathon. I m just trying to get a sense 

of how your careers have paralleled. In 1946 he ran for attorney 

general, the first time and lost in the primary. Were you 
involved in that campaign? 



The 1946 Attorney General Campaign: Lack of Billboards and 
Big Bucks 

Elkington: I managed that campaign. That s an interesting story. Brown, 
a Democrat at that time, and a very prominent one, being the 
district attorney of the second largest city of the state, was 
quite a prominent figure in Democratic circles. Somehow or 
other, he became their "fair-haired" boy to run for state office. 
And the state office then was the attorney general s office. 

But Brown was a candidate for attorney general on the 
Democratic side. (I was a Republican.) I had nothing to do with 
the campaign for quite a few months just knew that Brown was 
getting ready to run for office. I would see huddles of people 
down at Brown s private office, talking about the campaign. I 
can remember thinking, "Well, I m kind of fortunate I m left out 
of it and not having any responsibilities here." 

I did know that early in the campaign one of his campaign 
people had contacted an advertising man, press agent, or 
publicity man for billboards. Billboards are a necessary part 
of every campaign, particularly the twenty- four-sheet type, those 
are the big paper boards. There were even two-three- and six- 
sheet boards. But the twenty-four-sheet boards were the important 
ones. We had to have a statewide showing of twenty- four-sheet 
boards. That s statewide three or four hundred boards, properly 
placed. It s a pretty good showing main highways, main parts of 



36 



Elkington: the cities. It was quite expensive. So this advertising fellow 
came up and said, "I ve got the boards," four hundred or six 
hundred, or whatever the amount was. "Where are you getting 
them?", he was asked. "I m getting them, don t worry, it s all 
taken care of, take my word for it." Something that he wasn t 
at liberty to talk about, but he guaranteed he had them. 

I learned about most of this later, after the event. From 
time to time, the Brown people were assured that they had the 
twenty- four-sheet billboard and that when the time came they d 
be there. So, when the time came, this fellow very sheepishly 
confessed that the boards weren t there. 

Brown s opponent was Fred Napoleon Bowser, from Los Angeles. 
He was the district attorney of Los Angeles, had been critiziced 
for the goings on in his office. He was reputedly involved with 
Tony Cornero Stralla and the offshore gambling boat. He was the 
subject of very much criticism press criticism and otherwise. 
He was a Republican. 

It s turned out that this advertising man had counted on 
boards that belonged to or were leased by the liquor interests 
Artie Samish s liquor interest clients. They had a practice then, 
perhaps, now I don t know to release their boards for two weeks 
or a month or six weeks before elections to favored candidates or 
for favored propositions. You d have to pay for them if they 
released them to you. It would cost them nothing, except they 
gave up the boards for that period of time. These people were 
curious to know just who they were giving these boards to. When 
they found out it was Brown, well, they just weren t for Brown. 

If 

Elkington: They refused to allow Brown to have them. 
Shearer: Was that because of his particular stand on liquor? 
Elkington: No, it was because of Howser. 
Shearer: Just because they were for Howser. 

Elkington: It might have been because Brown was something of a straight and 
they didn t approve, generally, of his practices. Mostly because 
they were just "gung ho" for Fred Napoleon Howser for attorney 
general. 

So there were no billboards. That campaign went right down 
to election day without one twenty-four-sheet billboard in the 
state of California for Brown. 



37 



Shearer: You think that was a significant factor in his defeat? 

Elkington: He didn t show up very well he might have lost otherwise, but 
it certainly was a significant factor. And he had no money. 

But it developed that there were no boards , and 
here it was five weeks or so before election day: and all the 
billboard companies by that time had committed themselves to 
others. We might have sooner gotten our boards elsewhere, had 
it not been for this promise. 

Then Pat Brown saw me, a Republican in the office, and said, 
"Norm, I m sick and tired," or whatever he said. He was horribly 
provoked at the way things had gone. He said, "Norm, I want you 
to come in and manage the campaign for me." So, I did. From 
that point on I managed the campaign, very unsuccessfully. 

Shearer: How could you have pulled it out of the fire do you think at 
that point? With no money? 

Elkington: We had practically no money. 

Shearer: Where did you get money? 

Elkington: Most of it from his friends myself and others close friends. 

Shearer: How much money at that time was considered sufficient for a 
campaign? 

Elkington: A statewide campaign. I d say we would have been very happy to 

have had $250,000. It would have put on a good campaign. I m sure. 
Bowser had much more than that. I don t think we had $50,000 
throughout . 

Shearer: How did you spend the money that you had? 

Elkington: We had some paint boards. Those are the boards that are specially 
painted. They re usually larger. We had maybe fifty around the 
state. They were quite expensive. 

Shearer: But, that was considered the way to reach the people? 

Elkington: No, it was just one of the ways, and a very important way. Radio 
then; there was no television. I guess that radio was the number 
one medium. 

Shearer: Was that considered quite expensive then? 



38 



Elkington: 



Shearer: 
Elkington: 



Shearer: 



Elkington: 



Shearer: 
Elkinton: 



Yes, expensive in those days. Today it wouldn t sound expensive. 
I don t recall what radio time cost. My recollection is that it 
cost $1,900 that would be like $19,000 today $1,900 for statewide 
newspaper advertising coverage of the radio program, which you had 
to have. And that would be a little one-column, three- inch ad in 
the newspaper, usually on or close to the radio page. 

That would be in all the papers? 

Well, those of the California Newspaper Publishers Association 
members and that was 95 percent of the coverage of the papers. 
There were many other smaller papers that weren t members, but it 
covered such papers as The Chronicle, The Examiner, The Call and 
News in San Francisco in those days it constituted 95 percent 
of the statewide newspaper coverage. 

It was $1,900 for one statewide newspaper ad and that wasn t 
easy to come by. Plus the cost of the radio time. 



What did you put into the radio time? 
or two minutes or fifteen? 



Short speeches, like one 



I guess they were fifteen-minute spots. The speech then would 
run maybe twelve minutes. Well, whatever you hear in an ordinary 
campaign you hear all sorts of things. 

Brown and I had our differences . I remember very definitely 
in those days here was Fred Napoleon Howser I use that Napoleon 
because there was another Fred Houser, who later was lieutenant 
governor that s why I emphasize the Napoleon Howser. The other s 
spelled H-0-U-S-E-R. 

Howser had gotten an enormous amount of bad publicity over 
that gambling boat operation that was run by Tony Cornero Stralla 
and other bad publicity in Los Angeles. 



And what had Howser done? 

I m not sure of the details, 
widely . 



I just know that he was critiziced 



Having no money, it was my opinion that the only possible 
way that this election could be won was to thoroughly downgrade 
Howser. I think Pat is a kinder man than I am he couldn t 
bring himself to do it. For one reason or another, he just 
couldn t bring himself to go on the air and accuse Howser making 
the most of all of this bad publicity. Whether he s right or I 
was right, nobody can ever say, I guess, but I can remember some 
disputes as to how this should be handled. Although he made 



39 



Elkington: some of the speeches (I wrote them); he didn t have his heart in 
it. And toward the end, he made other kinds of speeches. Well, 
that was that campaign. 

I remember one incident, when we had arranged for a radio 
speech I think it was one a week, that s about all we could 
afford with the advertising statewide; maybe six or eight 
stations in the state I had, with the greatest of difficulty, 
scraped up $1,900 to pay for the advertising. The radio time 
had already been paid for weeks before, otherwise we wouln t have 
had it. The check had been put in the mail to pay for the 
newspaper advertising, and Bill Malone, the Democratic county 
central committee chairman then, telephoned me and said, "Norm, 
what are we doing about advertising this speech that Tom Clark is 
making for Pat?" (Clark was then the U.S. attorney general, later 
on the United States Supreme Court.) I said, "What speech is 
that?" "Oh, he s making a speech for Pat day after tomorrow on 
this network at this time!", and I said, "Oh, no, no, no, he s 
not; Pat s making that speech. We ve put the speech in the hands 
of the station. (They wanted then to edit them beforehand.) 
Tom Clark isn t, Pat is." Bill said, "Oh, no, Tom Clark s making 
it!" I said, "No, Pat is." 

Well, it developed that Pat had agreed to it, in his easygoing 
way. Someone had suggested that Tom Clark would be delighted to 
make a speech (probably a good idea) , but nobody bothered to check 
with me. Well, furiously, at the last minute, I was able to 
change the copy it wasn t easy because it had to go to the CNPA 
[California Newspaper Publishers Association] and then out to all 
of its member papers so that it advertised the Tom Clark speech 
for Brown. We had almost advertised Pat Brown making a speech 
himself, on a certain subject and then on the radio would have 
Tom Clark 

Shearer: It sounds like it was kind of a difficult campaign to manage. 

Elkington: Well, it was. Then I remember, I traced Brown around the state 
to find out (he was just moving from one place to another and 
you were never quite sure where you could find him) . I talked 
to him about this change in the radio and chewed him out. I was 
just furious about not knowing about it. I can understand now, as 
anybody might have, Brown was busy and had other things on his 
mind. And I guess, he always got bad news when he talked to me 
on account of our having no money. 

So, I said something like, "No reason for me to be here 
get somebody else to run the campaign." That s the way I talked 
to him. 



40 



Elkington: So, he said, "Okay, Norm, if that s the way you feel, okay." 

And then he hung up, I hung up, and I thought to myself, now what 
have I done? The last thing in the world I wanted to do was to 
abandon him and the campaign. I just felt so badly I was 
disgusted then with myself. 

The next morning, about seven o clock I got a telephone call 
at home from Brown, saying, "Norm, I want to tell you how much I 
appreciate everything you re doing. You re doing a swell job. 
I ll never forget it and I know the trouble you re having and all. 
I ll tell you what I d like you to do. Would you get in touch 
with so and so " All over again, I was campaign manager. Right 
back in where I had left off the day before. So, that was one 
of my recollections. The campaign, well, it wasn t really a 
disaster because it set him up beautifully to be elected four 
years later. 



Issues of the 1950 Attorney General Campaign 



Shearer: I wanted to ask you whether the issue of the gambling ships and 
Tony Cornero Stralla was then used again in 1950? Did that 
surface at all? Was it mainly in the primary? 

Elkington: By that time, Howser had been attorney general for four years. 
One or more of his representatives, as I recall, were convicted 
of trying to organize slot machines. There was a conviction up 
in Mendocino county. 

I know that Howser was pretty much repudiated during his 
four years as attorney general, to such an extent that Earl 
Warren, who was then governor, organized this California Crime 
Commission that s my recollection of its name to supplant 
the attorney general s office where it was necessary in aid of 
proper law enforcement. That information would be available 
to you in the newspapers of the day. 

Howser was, I think, quite thoroughly discredited during 
his four years and Brown was the only person to run against him, 
and he did. This time there was as smashing a victory as the 
defeat had been smashing four years before. And this time I had 
nothing to do with the campaign. It was more professional it 
had more money. 



41 



Press Coverage in the 1946 Attorney General Campaign 



Shearer: Back to the 1946 campaign what was the role of the press? Did 
you get any print press coverage? Could you rely on that? 

Elkington: My recollection is that the press was not very helpful. At the 
same time, the press was not particularly friendly to Howser 
the responsible press. But the press, apparently, considered 
Brown a loser couldn t possibly make it. 

Shearer: Because of the big disparity in finances? 

Elkington: The way it was going starting out with the disparity of financing, 
it looked like Howser was going to win. All you heard about was 
Howser those things grew like a snowball. By the time that the 
press got really interested in the campaign, Howser looked like 
a winner and Brown a loser, so they weren t about to in their 
human nature extoll a loser and, in a sense, go down to defeat 
themselves. That s my recollection of the press. They weren t 
very helpful in that election. 

Shearer: They did cover the campaign, but it was lopsided in favor of 
Howser? 

Elkington: Warren was a Republican then Warren was reelected that year. 
Bill Knowland, who was then the Republican floor leader of the 
United States Senate, or about to become that, was also elected. 
It was kind of a Republican year; the biggest Republican year 
the state had had for a long time. 

Shearer: Who is the public relations fellow who had made the arrangements 
for the paint boards? 

Elkington: I don t remember his name and I doubt if I d tell you if I did. 
He did it with the best of intentions. I m sure he had the 
absolute promise of agents for the liquor people. He acted in 
the best of faith. He was positive he had billboards but he 
didn t realize the coming implications. 



Problems of Campaign Funding 



Shearer: That brings up another question on campaign funding. You 

mentioned that for the most part, it was Brown s friends and 
people who knew him individuals rather than any identifiable 
interest who contributed to his campaign. 



42 



Elkington: Mostly from San Francisco I think his campaign was 80 percent 
funded from San Francisco. There was some money from the 
Democratic State Central Committee. And from the local central 
committees of the different counties, but very little. It s 
fair to say, it was mostly from his friends and friends of 
friends. 

Shearer: What about the practice of playing both sides of the fence, with 
corporations contributing to one candidate and contributing, 
perhaps not an equal amount but something, to his opponent. Was 
that practiced? 

Elkington: There were perhaps a few contributions of that nature. There were 
some very small corporate contributions. I think you d have to 
say those corporations were friends, at least not unfriendly. 
I m positive that in many cases the same contributions or more 
had been made to the other side. 

Shearer: It s interesting that Max Sob el, who was certainly in the thick 
of the liquor industry, became the northern California finance 
chairman for Brown in his next campaign for attorney general . 
How did that develop? 

Elkington: I believe that the liquor industry at the time of the first 
campaign was completely under the domination of Artie Samish. 
And that Artie Samish was completely behind Howser for his own 
reasons. He just said, "We will not support Brown!" I think 
that was the situation. I d say the industry was completely 
under his domination it was a domination that was conferred 
upon him by the industry, and they were very happy with it. I 
say that because, during that campaign there was an executive 
officer, probably the president, of a brewery in San Francisco, 
who was a long-time San Franciscan, and had known Brown, and 
knew many of his friends. And he had suggested, that if asked 
contributors like to be asked that he or his company might 
contribute to Brown s campaign. 

I went out to see this fellow. I told him we d be delighted 
to have a contribution from him and he said, "Well, that s fine, 
okay now. You just get in touch with Artie Samish and work it 
out." The clear implication was that they had an arrangement 
with Artie Samish that everything had to clear through him. 

Shearer: So he knew whom to finger in the future. 

Elkington: So he d get the credits. We talked about that and we needed 
the money badly. We didn t want to have anything to do with 
Artie Samish. 



43 



Elkington: But I remember, we went out to the publisher* of a San Francisco 
newspaper, a very ethical, high-principled, newspaper man. He 
was for Brown for attorney general, and we told him of our 
problem. And he said, "We all agree do we not, that Artie Samish 
is a bad political influence on this state?" Of course, we all 
did. "Well, doesn t that answer the question?" And it did, so 
we never got a contribution from that brewer. 

He made it so clear things are either right or they re 
wrong and this is wrong, so that s the end of it. He made it 
easy. I don t remember whether Brown was with me at the time 
but I remember that so clearly. Just hoping that he might find 
some rationalization for it that we re really getting it from 
them [the brewers] and not from Artie Samish. 

Shearer: Was the publisher a friend, an unofficial advisor, or did he have 
a place in the campaign? 

Elkington: I wouldn t say that he had a place in the campaign, but his 

newspaper was always friendly to Brown. I guess you would say 
he was an advisor. 



The CIO-PAC Label 



Elkington: Another interesting newspaper incident, in those days. Well, 

all of the San Francisco newspapers, except for the one I have 
mentioned, were for Howser, just because he was going to win, I 
guess, and it was the thing to do. The San Francisco Chronicle 
formed a practice, during that campaign, of calling Brown the 
"CIO-PAC candidate" CIO Political Action Committee Candidate. 
The CIO Political Action Committee was in disfavor with many 
people in those days. This was around the McCarthy era and the 
CIO-PAC was much frowned upon. 

Day after day, the Chronicle never mentioned Brown s name 
without describing him with the adjective "CIO-PAC candidate" 
Edmund G. "Pat" Brown. That was pretty much the kiss of death. 

Shearer: This is still in the 1946 campaign. I notice this sort of anti- 
Red and anti-Communist issue was coming to the fore in the 1950 
camapign, but apparently it was building up earlier. 

Elkington: Well, it was building up. The publisher, the big man of the 
Chronicle in those days was Paul Smith. Paul Smith was a boy 
wonder. He might even then have been in his late twenties. He 
was just a very able young man, who just had a meteoric rise. 



*Frank Clarvoe 



44 



Elkington: He was the publisher or managing editor of the Chronicle. We 
had been exposed to this CIO-PAC candidate publicity for weeks 
on end. We knew Paul Smith well a very fine, high-minded person. 

Parenthetically, I think this is interesting, and descriptive, 
of Paul Smith. There was a lettuce workers strike down in Salinas 
at the time, a very bitter one. The people of San Francisco and 
the area were pretty well divided. They were sympathetic with 
the strikers, or antagonistic toward them. The newspapers generally 
took positions, and I think most of them favored the growers, but 
there was much to be said for the other side. Paul Smith of the 
Chronicle had to make a decision which way to endorse one way 
or the other. The decision was left by the owners to Paul Smith. 
And it was a hard decision. There were threats of San Francisco 
advertisers pulling their advertising out, on account of the 
favorable news publicity that the Chronicle had been giving the 
strikers. So, a decision to editorially support the strikers was 
a hazardous one. But Smith decided to support the strikers, with 
a front-page editorial, saying that they were doing that in spite 
of the threats of their advertisers a courageous thing to do. 
This, I think, puts Paul Smith in his proper perspective. 

But, anyway, he was the one who was directing the Chronicle 
and directing the "CIO-PAC candidate" [publicity] about Pat 
Brown. I walked out to the Chronicle one day to see Paul Smith, 
whom I had known for some time. "Yes, Norman, what is it?", he 
said. I said something like this: "I think that the fundamental 
purpose of a newspaper is to inform its readers, isn t that right?" 
"Yes, yes, of course it is," he agreed. "And I also suppose that 
those subscribers should be honestly informed, shouldn t they?" 
"Why, yes, indeed, no question about it," he said. I said, "Well, 
for five weeks, or whatever, day after day, the Chronicle has been 
describing Pat Brown as a CIO-PAC candidate. Pat Brown is no 
more the CIO-PAC candidate than I am or you are! And you are 
misleading your readers." 

He looked at me, pressed a button, and at the door stood 
Squire Behrens, the political editor. "Yes, boss," or whatever, 
Squire said, and Paul Smith said, "About the Brown campaign; no 
more of that CIO-PAC. " That ended it. There was never again 
any mention that Brown was the CIO-PAC candidate. 

If 

Shearer: the CIO-PAC. 

Elkington: [Smith was for Howser] because he was supporting the Republican 
candidates, and Howser happened to be one of the Republican 
candidates. And on balance, it s better, I suppose he thought, 



45 



Elkington: to have a Republican ticket elected and not to split the ticket 
and not support a Democrat. He had supported Brown for district 
attorney just two years before. He weighed values and thought 
it was very important to elect this slate of Republicans, even 
though he had to swallow Howser in the process of doing it. I 
think that was his thinking. So, having made the decision for 
Howser, the impulse was to do whatever would advance Bowser s 
chances. But he changed on the CIO-PAC. 

Shearer: What did it mean, specifically, to be called the CIO-PAC 
candidate? 



Elkington: 

Shearer: 

Elkington: 

Shearer: 

Elkington: 



I think it caused people generally to identify Brown with the 
"way-out," radical Communist, whatever, element or worse. And 
it hurt him politically. 



What position, do you recall, the paper taking on Helen Gahagan 
Douglas and Nixon and Roosevelt in 1950? 

I just don t remember. 

Did you not have an official role in the 1950 campaign? 

No. In the end of 1948, I left the district attorney s office and 
went into private practice. I was pretty busy with my practice, 
and his second campaign came along during that period that I was 
away from the office, so I had nothing to do, officially, with 
the campaign. 

I was away from the office for a couple of years. As I think 
I ve said, I developed a little bit of heart trouble which I ve 
never had since, and the doctor said, "You re going to have to 
take it easy; you can t work so hard." I said, "How can I take 
it easy? I ve got a case to try tomorrow morning and another one 
next Monday" and that sort of thing. And that s hard work, I 
don t know whether you know that or not. He said, "Well, your 
trouble now is functional. It s not too bad now but it will 
develop into something serious, and all I can say is you re 
going to have to learn how to take it easy." 

I didn t know how to take it easy then I went for seven 
months, one time, without ever missing a day Saturday, Sunday, 
holiday or whatever from my law office. So, anyway, about that 
time, after Brown was elected attorney general, Lynch became 
district attorney. He called me just within a few days of the 
doctor s announcement to me and said, "Norman, I d like to have 
you come back to the office as chief deputy." And I said, "Well, 
thanks a lot, but I just left there a while ago; I appreciate you 
thinking of me, but I m not interested." But after I hung up, 



Elkington: in the next few days I began to think more and more of it this 
may be an answer to my problem, because there I was pretty much 
my own boss. I could work at whatever speed I wanted to work 
at and that s not true of a private practice. 

I think he did say, originally, "Well, think it over and 
let me know." That s the way he left it. About a week after 
his call, I rang and said, "I thought it over and if it s still 
open, I ll be down there." And he said, "Fine. Show up in the 
morning." 

I had a two-year gap from continuous service in the 
district attorney s office. 

I ve never had a touch of that trouble since and my heart 
today is in just beautiful shape, my doctor says. I m seventy- 
five years old, too. 

I worked hard; one year I tried only two cases, but each of 
those cases took three months to try. And the rest of the time 
I spent preparing for them, you know, at my own pace. So, it 
worked out nicely. 

So, then I was with Lynch for several years until I was 
appointed by Brown to the bench. 

Shearer: That would have been 1959. It sounds as though you did learn to 
pace yourself. That s a great achievement. 

Elkington: I don t know, I m as hard a worker as there is on the court 

right now, but I ve never had any recurrence of that trouble, 
never the slightest. It seemed very serious at the time. I 
awakened one morning and tried to get out of bed and [door 
knock; staff member delivers files] the room just went around me. 
I just felt as though I d had about six martinis or so just as 
dizzy as I could be. I tried to get up and I had to hold on to 
the bedstead to support myself. And I never experienced anything 
like that before. It eased up a bit as the day went on, and I 
did get down to the office, but all day long I felt kind of 
lightheaded, something wrong. The same thing happened the next 
day and that s when I went to the doctor. He sent me across the 
street to have an electrocardiogram, and that didn t show up well. 
That s when he excitedly told me, "You ve got to take it easy 
now; you can t work so hard and all." So, that s why I went back 
to the DA s office. I probably wouldn t be here today if I hadn t 
gone back to the DA s office. I think I just probably would have 
lost contact, nobody knows. 

Shearer: But what a frightening experience, to be reminded so dramatically 
of mortality. 



47 



Elkington: Never had the slightest inkling of it since the doctor today 
says my heart is just perfect blood vessels, blood pressure, 
everything is right. 



Pat Brown s Political and Personal Style 



Shearer: I have just a couple of other questions. We talked a little bit 
about how difficult it was to get Brown revved up to attack 
Howser as you felt he should have in that campaign. Can you 
characterize him as a campaigner and a political leader? Give 
an idea of how he relates to the people around him, how he makes 
decisions . Is he the kind of person who seeks advice or does he 
dominate the group he s with? How does he work with people? 

Elkington: Well, he s very much of a human being. I think he d be the first 
to admit that he has his shortcomings and faults, as we all have. 
No one could characterize him as a dominant person, who gives 
orders, and is always right and that sort of thing. He s a very 
kind, compassionate sort of person; he doesn t like to harm 
anyone. I don t think that Pat has an enemy in this world, and 
if he has one he d love dearly to have it otherwise. He just 
doesn t take very well to the real vicious rough-and-tumble type 
of political activity. I guess that s to his credit I m sure it 
is at least it s not to his discredit. He just couldn t find 
it in his heart to mercilessly attack Howser on account of the 
bad publicity he had been getting. I thought that was the only 
way he could possibly be elected if he could just so thoroughly 
discredit Howser, but Howser had just too much going for him at 
the time. 

He could make decisions. He could change his mind. Well, 
one of them was the Tom Clark radio speech, where a more highly 
organized human being would first have gotten in touch with me 
and said, "This is what I ve done, take care of it!" But he 
didn t. So, he s a human being, and a fine one. 

One time his automobile was in the shop for a few days; I 
would pick him up on the way to work. And one day, about the 
third or fourth day of our trips, he said, something like, "Golly, 
gee," (that was an expression of his), "you always go to work 
the same way every morning." And I realized I did every day, 
just the same way. And I realized he d take a different route 
every morning or almost every morning. To him, it seemed strange 
that I d just go the one way every morning, and to me it was just 
as strange that he d select a different route every morning. 
Anyway, whatever that adds up to I don t know; it s a difference 
in personalities anyway. 



48 



Shearer: la he the kind of person who just makes lots of friends easily? 
Or a few friends who stay with him forever? 

Elkington: Oh, no, he has lots of friends and keeps them. As a politician, 
that s not always easy, because you have to make decisions. 
Perhaps the only enemies, if they are enemies, might be those 
who expected some sort of an appointment, particularly judicial 
appointments, from him and didn t get them. For every appointment 
that was available, he had perhaps twenty-five or fifty aspirants 
for it, so he had to turn them down. He often mentions that 
himself, laughing. Every time he made a judicial appointment, he 
developed one ingrate and fifty enemies. 

Shearer: How does he tend to choose his staff? On the basis of loyalty, 
expertise, intelligence, willingness, ability? 

Elkington: He s very loyal to his friends and I think that it s very easy 

for him to see in his friends the ability and loyalty and whatever 
it is that there should be for an appointment. Most of his 
friends in San Francisco his lawyer friends anyway, with very 
very few exceptions have been remembered in some way by him. 
It may be that there were better people available for the jobs, 
but I think he found it hard to see it. He s a kind, compassionate 
person, who doesn t develop enemies easily. I think there s a 
good illustration of that, which brings us back to this 1946 
Howser-Brown campaign. There was a lawyer who had been a deputy 
district attorney, probably the chief deputy district attorney 
in Howser s office, the Los Angeles district attorney s office. 
That lawyer s name was Charles Stratton. Now just as I probably 
spearheaded what might be called the "viciousness" on Brown s 
part in the campaign, pretty much unsuccessfully, Charles Stratton 
did the same thing for Howser and his campaign. Stratton was 
always bitterly criticial of Brown. 

Brown hadn t been governor for very long (this was ten or 
twelve years after that campaign) . I saw Brown one time and he 
said, "Norm, you remember that Chuck Stratton down in Los 
Angeles, remember Chuck Stratton?" I said, "I sure do!" He 
said, "You know what I ve done, I appointed him to the superior 
court!" [laughing] Now if there s any one person in Brown s 
life who could fairly be considered an enemy, it would be Chuck 
Stratton. Brown couldn t allow that to be, and he appointed Chuck 
Stratton to the superior court in Los Angeles. I don t think that 
any of us ever heard of any other politician that could do a 
thing like that. Brown, he s a compassionate, decent man, who 
doesn t want to have enemies. He s very forgiving. 

Shearer: Has that trait ever been a real limitation for him, do you 
think? 



49 



Elkington: All throughout Brown s political career, his first friends 
close friends have always been critical of things he does, 
things he says shouldn t do that, it s not politically smart 
and all. Yet, it s Pat s personality, his temperament it s 
the things he does and the way he does them that made him 
governor and attorney general. Another type of personality, 
cautious and careful, probably never would have reached the 
places that Brown had gotten to. 

So, he s been criticized, and I have been among his critics 
of things he s done, from time to time, but in the long run, he s 
been right, and I ve been wrong. I think Brown s personality had 
brought him the political success that he s enjoyed, and without 
it he never would have made it. 

I remember a trip to a district attorneys convention at 
Catalina Island. We were going back home to the mainland, and on 
the boat there were a lot of young boys and girls, high school 
kids. The rest of us were kind of tired and just off to ourselves 
and here Pat was out there chatting with these kids, asking about 
their high school, and if they had a good football team. They 
just clustered around him they just enjoyed every minute of it 
and he every minute of it. 

He made a lot of political "boo-boos" that he himself has 
regretted, but he s risen above it. Once he made a speech, very 
critical of the insurance industry when he was governor. And 
another time, Henry Ford the second or third (that was the present 
executive back then) I think his daughter was being married, and 
he spent a few hundred thousand dollars on the wedding. Brown s 
speech was very critical of great wealth, squandering money that 
way when there were so many other ways it could be spent. Well, 
nobody could really criticize Ford with his millions or billions, 
spending a few hundred thousand dollars on his daughter s wedding. 
It just wasn t a thing to have said at the time. Brown regretted 
it afterwards. I think the reason was that he had just acquired 
a new speech writer and this new speech writer was a little bit 
off in the distance, in his political and economic philosphies. 
At least they weren t accepted in that day. Brown just delivered 
the speeches as they had been prepared for him. 

Shearer: On some of the later issues, such as the Chessman case, and the 

1960 presidential convention here in the state were you surprised 
at the decision he made and the length of time it took him to 
make the decision? 

Elkington: With Chessman? No, I wasn t surprised; I think that s Brown. 

I think that better illustrates my answer to your question a few 
moments ago, Brown just can t bear the thought of imposing 



50 



Elklngton: capital punishment on any person, just doesn t like it. And yet 
he s mindful of the fact that crime has to be punished, sometimes 
drastically, and also the fact that many people think that it 
should be. He was having a horrible time making up his mind all 
through those years that Chessman was awaiting his execution. He 
just couldn t bring himself he might make up his mind two weeks 
before that this time the sentence shall prevail, but then when 
the time comes , the night before, he feels, "Oh, my God, I can t 
allow that to happen!" And he just rings the warden and gives 
Chessman a reprieve. 

One time (I think this is common knowledge) , the last time 
the execution was stayed, Brown said something like that once 
again, he stayed the execution. This was the time that everybody 
was convince that it would never again be stayed, the judgment 
would be executed. Sure enough, late that night Brown rang the 
warden and held up the execution and he said something, half 
facetiously, perhaps, like "I heard the voice of God! That voice 
of God told me!" Well, the voice of God was the voice of his 
son, Jerry Brown, from the Jesuit seminary, telling him, "Dad, 
you can t let Chessman die." And he didn t let him die. 

Shearer: I think I heard something like that. 

Elkington: I thought it was a secret with me for a while, but then somebody 
had told me, it s in one of the books about Brown. 

Shearer: I ve seen so many of his transcripts now, it s hard for me to 
sort out what I ve read in his book and what I ve read in 
manuscript. 

Elkington: It s common knowledge anyway. For a while I thought that it was 
something else. I wouldn t mention for fear that it might be 
embarrassing to him. I think Pat even mentions it himself in his 
speeches. 



Pat Brown s Family 



Shearer: 



Elkington: 



Shearer: 



I think he does give Jerry some credit for having done that. 
I did want to ask a little bit about Jerry, do you know him? 

I think I went to his christening! [laughing] I know I went to 
his sister, Kathleen s christening; I remember that vividly. 
She s Kathleen Rice now. I remember him as a kid. Sometimes 
he d come in and out of the office to see his father. 



What was he like as a little boy? 
boy? 



Was he a very serious little 



51 



Elkington: Oh, very serious, as he is now completely unlike his father, 
think he takes after Bernice so much. 



Shearer: What is she like? 
too. 



You knew her socially all through the years, 



Elkington: Well, she was much more introverted than Brown and much more 

serious just a different personality. Jerry, it seems to me and 
to many others, has taken after her very much not at all after 
his father. 

Seharer: How do Bernice and Pat relate to one another, being so different? 

Elkington: I think they ve complemented each other. I think she s been a 
steadying influence upon him. Pat once described himself to me 
as being "harum-scarum," after something had happened and he d 
changed his mind about it. He s kind of an impulsive, perhaps 
emotional, person. I think that Bernice has been sort of a 
steadying influence upon him in many respects. 

Shearer: Do you think he s drawn influence from her on issues? 

Elkington: I think so, to some extent. I think she s a very intelligent 
girl and has thought out a lot of the problems of our present 
day society. And I think to a considerable degree, that she s 
been influential on Pat s point of view. 

Shearer: Does she enjoy politics? 

Elkington: I think so. Few human beings could resist it the limelight of 
being the first lady and being kowtowed to and honored and 
all. In the early days, in my opinion, she would have preferred 
Brown to stick to his law practice and forget about politics. 
But with his success, I think that she enjoyed it to some extent, 
but essentially, in my opinion, she s not a political person. 

Shearer: Did you make use of her help or presence in the 1946 camapign? 

Elkington: No, I don t recall that we did at all. She would, of course, be 
with him at receptions and things like that, but certainly there 
was no intentional use of her by setting up situations where 
her appearance might be helpful to him. It might have been 
otherwise had she invited it or seemed interested in it, but I 
don t think she was. 

Shearer: Didn t some candidates wives enter into it. 






52 



Elkington: Some candidates wives I remember one candidate, his campaign 
revolved 90 percent around his wife and family and his mother 
and his father or grandfather. You d always see a family 
picture; it would be everywhere. Of course, that romance broke 
up. The candidate and his wife have long been separated, and 
the kids have chosen sides. It was an unfair portrayal and it s 
sad, but that was a gimmick that was used because it would be 
helpful. Nothing like that was ever done with Brown and Bernice, 
much to their credit, I think. 

Shearer: I guess there is real difficulty in trying to live a political 
life and have a family at the same time. 

Elkington: There are a lot of divorces aren t there, but there are many 

divorces in political life. There was one just the last few days 
and I forget who it was? 

Shearer: Someone local? 

Elkington: Someone who s prominent in politics. Oh, what I m thinking of is 

Hearst Patty s parents that s what I was thinking of. And that s 
not political at all; that s something else again. But there 
are a lot of busted marriages in political families, maybe not 
more than ordinarily, but it seems to me that there are. 

Well, I hope I ve been of some help to you. 

Shearer: I think you re been a great help. I just want to be sure that 
I haven t overlooked something on the 1950 campaign. 



Helen Douglas and the 1950 Campaign// # 



Elkington: I thought he [Brown] was doing mighty well in the 1950 campaign. 
Howser was completely discredited but he was still a Republican 
candidate. Brown had everything going for him in that campaign. 
I think that when everything is going for the politician, there 
is a tendency for the politician to run his own campaign and not 
to involve himself in the campaigns of other running mates, so 
to speak. If you re not doing well, then you reach out and try 
to embrace your running mates for whatever good that might do 
you. 

I think he was wise enough and my observation was that he 
did just simply run his own campaign and not get himself involved 
in any of the others. Candidates develop enemies, and one 
candidate embracing another often does himself a disservice. 



53 



Shearer: Well, I know that there was some talk among the campaign workers 
as to whether it was advisable for Brown to appear, not only on 
the same platform with Helen Gahagan Douglas, but even too soon 
afterward, because he might then be tarred with the same brush, 
when she was being Red-baited. 

Elkington: I don t know a thing about that. I think I can see a problem 

in Nixon. Even in those days, he was vicious. A lot of people 
believed him. It makes no political sense, just for the sake of 
being right or honest to do yourself a disservice by trying to 
rescue some other candidate. My guess is that he stayed pretty 
much out of that campaign. You re suggesting that he deliberately 
avoided any contact? 

Shearer: I think I remember reading that there was a decision made at 

some point to try not to appear as essentially "running mates" 
of Jimmy Roosevelt, who had his own set of personal problems at 
that point, and Helen Douglas. 

Elkington: Every candidate has that problem. What will be his relations 
with other people of his party running for office at the same 
time. 

Shearer: Was it clear to you that Helen Douglas s campaign was faltering? 

Elkington: I wasn t particularly interested in it at the time, so I just 
have no recollection of it, but you remind me that Nixon was 
running against her and it was kind of a bitter campaign. I 
have no recollection at all. That s when Jimmy Roosevelt ran 
against Warren. 

Shearer: That s right. 

Elkington: Here was Warren, who was a very successful Republican officeholder. 
He hadn t at that point developed or at least exhibited the 
liberalism that later appeared, but he was a highly regarded 
person and it would have been a very improvident act for Brown 
to have gotten himself involved with Roosevelt s campaign. A lot 
of Democrats in those days were ready to vote for Warren and did. 
They must have because the Democrats completely outnumbered the 
Republicans in registration. It would have been very unwise 
for Brown to have "cozied up" to Jimmy Roosevelt, in my opinion. 
He had the basic Democratic vote anyway. There might have been 
other considerations so far as Helen Gahagan Douglas was concerned- 
Nixon won. You re interested in it more than I was it by a 
landslide? 



Shearer: 



It was a big vote 



54 



Elkington: Then it would have been wise for Pat to stay out of that campaign, 
wouldn t it? To the extent that he identified himself with her 
campaign, he would tend to lose the support of people who could 
vote for Nixon and also vote for Brown. 

Shearer: It was 2,183,454 for Nixon to 1,502,000 for Douglas. That s a 
substantial margin. 

Elkington: I think anyone would have advised Brown in that day to stay out 
of both the gubernatorial and the senatorial campaign and run 
his own. That might even have resulted in advice to avoid 
public appearances with others. I have no idea what actually 
happened, but I think maybe that is what did happen I wouldn t 
hold it against him at all. He was there running his own campaign, 
trying to get himself elected and he was to do everything 
necessary to get himself elected. I m sure he had that advice, 
and he might even have yielded to it. 



Transcriber: Kathy Moorehead 
Final Typist: Keiko Sugimoto 



55 



TAPE GUIDE Norman Elkington 



Interview 1: December 13, 1978 1 

segment from tape 3, side A 1 

tape 1, side A 4 

tape 1, side B 13 

tape 2, side A [side B not recorded] 22 

Interview 2: January 11, 1979 31 

tape 3, side A 31 

tape 3, side B 36 

tape 4, side A 44 

tape 4, side B 52 



56 



INDEX Norman Elkington 



abortion raids, 17-19 

Ahearn, Frank, 17 

Aiken, Janet, 23 

Anderson, Alta. See abortion raids, 17-19 

Atherton investigation. See corruption in San Francisco Police Department 



Behrens, Earl C. , 44 

Brady, Matthew, 12, 18, 20, 23 

Brown, Bernice Layne (Mrs. Edmund G., Sr.), 51-52 

Brown, Edmund G. , Jr., 50-51 

Brown, Edmund Joseph, 15 

Brown, Harold Clinton, 3-4 

Brown [Rice], Kathleen, 50 

Brown, McDonnell, Mackin, and Brown, 3 

Burns, Inez Brown, 17-18. See also abortion raids 



California Newspaper Publishers Association [CNPA], 38, 39 
California State Crime Commission, 40 
Chessman, Caryl. See death penalty 
Chow, Jack, 23 
civil rights 

of the accused in the 40s, 25-26, 28, 32-34 

of Japanese-Americans, 27 
Clark, Tom, 39 
Clarvoe, Frank, 43 
Cline, Alfred L. case, 29-31 
Commonwealth party, 6 
Congress of Industrial Organizations Political Action Committee 

[CIO-PAC], 43-45 
Cook, Norman, 12 
corruption in San Francisco Police Department 

abortion raids, 17-18 

Atherton investigation, 9, 19-20 

gambling, 14-16 

McDonough brothers, Peter P. and Tom, 19-20 
Creel, George, 5-6 



57 



Daws on, Ken, 3 
death penalty 

Chessman case, 49-50 
Depression, 1930s, 3 
Douglas, Helen Gahagan, 52-53 



election campaigns, California 

1928 assembly, 11 

1946 attorney general, 22, 35-45 

1950 attorney general, 40, 52-54 

1950 gubernatorial, 53 

1950 Senatorial, 52-54 
election campaigns, financing and methods 

1946 attorney general, 37-39, 41-44 
election campaigns, national 

1932 presidential, 4-5, 7 

1936 presidential, 5-6 
election campaigns, San Francisco 

1935 Board of Supervisors, 9-10 

1939 Board of Supervisors, 10 

1939 district attorney, 11-12, 20-21 

1943 district attorney, 12-14 
Elkington, Norman 

family background, 1 

schooling, 2 

as deputy district attorney, 21-22 



Finn, Tom, 20 
Friedman, Leo, 2 



gambling 

bookmaking, 16 

gambling ship scandal, 36, 38, 40 

private clubs in San Francisco, 14-16 

prosecution of, 16 
graft. See abortion and gambling 
Green, Robert Miller, 10 



Haight, Raymond, 6 

Hawley-Smoot Tariff (1932), 7 

Hodges , Lauder , 8 

Hoover, Herbert, 4 

Howser, Frederick Napoleon, 36, 38, 40, 42-44 



58 



Japanes e- Ame r i cans 

in relocation camps, 27 



Knowland, William, 41 



law enforcement in San Francisco 

abortion raids, 17-19 

criminal procedures, 24-26, 28-34, 40 

gambling, 14-16 
Levit, Bert, 24-25, 34 
Linn, Clarence, 2 
Lynch, Thomas, 18, 21, 45 



McDonough brothers. See corruption in San Francisco Police Department 

McGuire, Harding, 29-30 

MacPhee, Chester, 10 

Malone, William, 39 

Mead , Dewey , 9 

media in the 1946 attorney general campaign 

billboards, 35-37, 41 

newspapers, 14, 38-39, 41, 43-45 

San Francisco Chronicle, 38, 43-45 

Menlo Club. See gambling, private clubs in San Francisco 
Merriam, Frank Finley, 5-6 
Miranda v. Arizona, 32, 34 
Murphy, Ed, 18 



Newbarth, Harry, 18 

New Guard . See New Order of Cincinnatus, 
New Order of Cincinnatus, 6, 8, 9-10 
Nixon, Richard Milhous, 53 



O Gara, Gerald, 10 



Pardini, Julian, 9 
People v. Cahen, 32-34 
People v. May en, 32-33 
Poole, Cecil, 23 
Potts, Ralph, 6, 8, 9 



59 



Roosevelt, Franklin D. , 4, 7 
Roosevelt, James, 53 



St. Ignatius Law School. See University of San Francisco 
Samish, Artie, 36, 42, 43 
San Francisco, city of 

corruption, 14-20 

politics, 19-20 

district attorney s office, 14-19, 21-34 
Schnacke, Doris, 23 
Sinclair, 5-6 
Smith, Paul, 43-45 
Sobel, Max, 42 

Stralla, Tony Cornero. See gambling 
Stratton, Charles, 48 
Swetman, Regis, 3 



University of San Francisco, 2 



Warren, Earl, 25, 40, 41, 53 
Wilson, Edith, 23 



Young, Clement Calhoun, 5-6 



Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 



Governmental History Documentation Project 
Goodwin Knight/Edmund Brown, Sr., Era 



Helen Ewing Nelson 
THE FIRST CONSUMER COUNSEL IN CALIFORNIA 



An Interview Conducted by 

Julie Shearer 

in 1979 



Copyright ("T) 1982 by the Regents of the University of California 




HELEN NELSON 



TABLE OF CONTENTS Helen Ewing Nelson 



INTERVIEW HISTORY 

Childhood on the Family Farm 1 

Education 2 

Living Through the Depression 3 

Economic Abstractions with Underpinnings in Reality 4 

Evolution of the Office of Consumer Counsel 5 

Advisory Committee Membership and Functions 10 

Role of the Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley 11 

Selection of the Consumer Counsel 12 

When Principle and Policy Clash 17 

Struggling to Protect the Consumer Interest 18 

Developing Clout in the Political Arena 19 

Getting Access to the Governor 22 

The Consumer Counsel as Vote Getter 25 

Consumer Allies and Opposition 25 

Reaching Consumers in Watts 28 

What It Takes to Influence Legislation 29 

Combating Consumer Fraud 31 

Stimulating Law Enforcement 32 

Achievements in Consumer Credit Legislation 35 

Raising the Public Consciousness 37 

Truth in Labeling and Packaging 39 

Relationship with the Office of the Attorney General 42 

The Consumer Bill of Rights 43 

The Challenge to Women in State Government 45 

Managing Marriage and Career 46 

TAPE GUIDE 49 

APPENDIX - "Consumer Credit Uses and Abuses," reprinted from The 

Credit Union Magazine, December 1963 50 

INDEX 56 



INTERVIEW HISTORY 



Helen Ewing Nelson is used to taking the long view in working for 
social change. She estimates that it takes "about ten years from getting 
a well-developed idea and a necessary, maybe inevitable, change to having 
it actually accomplished." This point of view served the former statisti 
cian and research economist well in her tenure as consumer counsel for 
the State of California, a position proposed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, 
Senior, in his inaugural message of 1959 and established by the legislature 
that same year . 

When Mrs. Nelson became the official "voice of the consumer," she had 
the task of educating the California public to think of themselves as 
consumers. Initially, her official resources were: a secretary, a 
budget of $25,000, and a legislative charge to "advise the governor on 
all matters affecting the interest of the people as consumers" and to 
recommend legislation to protect that interest. In her words, she had 
"no clout..., nothing but a mouth." 

In her seven years in office, Mrs. Nelson attempted to husband the 
modest resources of the Office of Consumer Counsel to create a voice that 
spoke louder than its budget. And she achieved a large measure of 
success, judging from what the California consumer had come to expect in the 
marketplace by 1966 full disclosure of credit interest rates, truthful 
and complete listing of ingredients, auto and TV repair reforms, sales 
tax exemptions for prescription drugs, and installment-buying reforms 
outlawing deficiency judgments and giving the buyers the right to a written 
contract. 

In her oral history interview, documenting her role in the gubernatorial 
administration of Edmund G. Brown, Senior, Mrs. Nelson recounted what it 
was like to be the official consumer advocate working within the govern 
mental system and simultaneously helping to create and direct citizen 
pressure from the outside. She discussed her efforts to research citizen 
complaints; organize PTA members, shopping-cooperative members, and mothers 
into lobbying groups; use the consumer counsel s independence from the 
governor s office to take highly visible positions that the governor 
couldn t take; and extend the educational arm of the consumer counsel by 
supplying consumer news to fill papers and prime-time public affairs 
programming on radio and TV. She also discussed the approach of encouraging 
enforcement of existing laws to get at consumer fraud rather than creating 
fresh legislation. She included observations on persons of influence 
surrounding the governor and comments on the importance of gaining access to 
the governor. She also discussed the particular frustrations she encoun 
tered as a woman in politics and government in dealing with the male-dominated 
legislature and bureaucracy where policy and political alliances are often 
forged after hours in a nearby bar. 



ii 



After serving in the Brown administration, Mrs. Nelson was appointed 
associate director of the research and development of the Center for 
Consumer Affairs at the University of Wisconsin Extension, then director 
of the center, associate professor, and then professor at the University 
of Wisconsin in 1974. Throughout this time and to the present she has 
served as a consultant to government and industry; president or board member 
on numerous state, national, and regional consumer organizations dealing 
with consumer law and health care; and has been active in professional 
organizations in economics and labor arbitration; as public governor 
of the American Stock Exchange; and has published many articles. 

Since her return to California in 1979 and during the process of 
recording her oral history, Mrs. Nelson has served as president of the 
Consumer Research Foundation and has won a seat on the board of directors 
of the Cooperative Shopping Centers based in Corte Madera, Berkeley, 
Oakland, and San Francisco. 

These thoughtful recollections of the Brown administration were elicited 
in an extended interview on July 25, 1979 at her Mill Valley home. The 
lightly edited transcript was sent to Mrs. Nelson along with several 
additional questions for her approval. She gave the transcript careful 
review, over a year s time due to the press of her professional commitments. 
After adding some clarifying details, she returned the approved transcript 
to the oral history office for final typing and processing for publication. 

Julie Gordon Shearer 
Interviewer-Editor 



4 June 1982 

Regional Oral History Office 

486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 



THE FIRST CONSUMER COUNSEL IN CALIFORNIA 
[Interview 1: July 25, 1979] ft 



Shearer: I d like to hear about your years as Consumer Counsel during the 
administration of Pat Brown. Both terms, of course. 

Nelson: The office wasn t created until the administration had been in for 
about a year. It became operative in October of 59. (Actually 
November of 58.) The office was created by the legislature that 
came in with Pat Brown after he was elected. 



Childhood on the Family Farm 



Shearer: First of all, can I just quickly cover a little bit of your 
background? Who were your parents? 

Nelson: My parents were Delton and Edith Ewing. My father was a farmer in 
Boulder County, Colorado, as his father had been before him. And, 
we lived on a family farm on which we raised a multiplicity of 
things . 

Shearer: When were you born? 

Nelson: In 1913. I went to the University of Colorado, which was at 

Boulder, about eight miles from our farm. I lived at home and 
drove in with my brothers to school every day. And we took the 
milk in the car at the same time to deliver to the creamery. And 
the boys always needed to tie the milk cans on the outside of the 



##Thia symbol indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has 
begun or ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 49. 



Nelson: car. Then we had to stop at the creamery, where they took them off. 
Then at night when we came home from school, we stopped and got the 
empty, washed cans and brought them home. 

Shearer: Did your brothers also go to college? 

Nelson: Yes, they all went to college, yes. All five of us went through 
the University of Colorado. 

Shearer: You had four brothers? What were their names? 
Nelson: Harold D., Forrest W., John G., and Vernon R. 



Education 



I also took a good amount of 



Shearer: What did you study? 
Nelson: I majored in economics. 
Shearer: Not home economics? 

Nelson: No, not home economics, economics, 
sociology and political science. 

Shearer: Was that unusual? 

Nelson: Yes. 

Shearer: There were no other women in your class during that time? 

Nelson: Yes, I think there was one or two. 

Shearer: What prompted you to pursue that? 

Nelson: Well, probably 1 was counseled by some professors, and some of the 
people in high school. The vice principal in high school, who 
taught civics, was very helpful to me in helping me decide what I 
wanted to do. And he interested me, of course, in many of the 
economic and political problems of the day. It was a time that was 
very exciting, because it was I started college just about the 
time Roosevelt was elected. 

Shearer: In 1931? 

Nelson: I started in 31, yes. And he was trying new things to get the 

economy going. For example, there was a Colorado soft coal mining 
strike and our farm was very close to some coal mining towns. 



Nelson: And they started the NRA,* and we had a National Bituminous Coal 

Board, or something like that. (There was a woman on it; her name 
was Josephine Roche.) They [the board] elevated the mine workers 
from such a poor wage and a condition of almost fiefdom to the 
mining company. The workers were living in mining company houses 
and bought from mining company stores. It was the beginning of the 
recognition of the United Mine Workers. 

All those things came about when I was in college the National 
Labor Relations Board, and so forth. So, it was an exciting time. 
My father was interested in those things, and I was very much 
interested. So, it was a fun time to be studying economics I was 
studying Money and Banking, and while the government was creating 
new institutions to shore up the banking system during the Depression. 



Living through the Depression 



Shearer: Was your family threatened during the Depression by economic 
losses or were they pretty secure and established? 

Nelson: No, no, we were very poor during the Depression. We were poor most 
of the time, but it was very bad during the Depression because there 
was also a drought at the same time as the Depression, so that the 
fields didn t produce. And we didn t have hay and we didn t have 
wheat to sell. So we had very little farm income, and not enough 
feed for the cows who were being milked. 

You always in a farm try to develop some cash income from 
something. Our cash income came from the cows and the chickens, 
primarily. We would sell the eggs and sell the milk, for cash that 
bought the groceries and bought the gasoline for the car and 
whatever else we could stretch it to. But you need feed for the 
cows, and there wasn t hay or grain to feed the cows. And I 
remember the cows bawling because they were hungry. And that s very 
unhappy. My father used to pour a sort of molasses on straw and 
give it to them. 

Shearer: You mean the drought exerted such an influence that there really 
wasn t the pasturage available at all. 

Nelson: That s right, yes. There wasn t pasturage and there wasn t grain 
produced. We didn t produce oats and wheat. The field blew away 
with the wind. So we didn t have wheat and oats to feed the 
animals. But we tried very hard and succeeded in keeping them 
alive. They were very valuable to us. 



*National Recovery Administration 



Shearer: But I imagine you didn t get much in the way of milk from them. 
Nelson: No. No, that s right. 

Shearer: If the chickens and the cows produced your cash income, what was 
your main income? 

Nelson: No, that wasn t the main income; the main income was wheat and, to 
a lesser extent, alfalfa. It requires water to produce alfalfa, 
and during those years we didn t have enough. But mainly we produced 
wheat and sold it in the fall, if we had a crop. And that paid the 
farm mortgage and, hopefully, bought us some new tires or a new 
car, or something like that. One year, to get cash for a new car, 
my father and brothers agreed that they would plant pinto beans. 
And pinto beans are a hand labor job, unlike wheat, you know. So 
the boys had to hoe the beans, and the summer was hot. But they 
were sold the beans were sold and we got enough money to get a 
Model A car. And that was a great day. 

Shearer: How many acres did you have in beans? 

Nelson: Oh, probably eighty. 

Shearer: Oh, that s a lot of hoeing! 

Nelson: [laughing] That s a lot of beans to hoe! 

Shearer: What was your notion of economics when you were studying it? Was 
it connected clearly to the kind of forces that were shaping what 
you had to do on the farm, or was it more a kind of aesthetic 
appreciation or intellectual appreciation? 



Economic Abstractions^ with Underpinnings^ in Reality 



Nelson: No, I think it was it was intellectual. For example, I found it 
difficult to comprehend money and banking and the abstractions of 
money supply, and so forth. But it had underpinnings right in the 
reality of life, probably because there was an Agricultural 
Adjustment Act and there was a way to pay the farmers if they tried 
to produce less. And that was the beginning of paying farmers not 
to produce, and all the criticism that that brought. But it was a 
great innovation. It was directly the application of trying to 
influence the supply to bring up the price. You know, diminish the 
supply so the prices go up. So it s a very definite, Immediate 
example of the effect of supply and demand, which is definitely 
economics. 



Shearer: Can I back up a little bit? You mentioned the high school civics 
teacher being able to present to you so forcefully the issues of 
the day. What were the issues that you were thinking of? 

Nelson: Well, the issues at that time were whether or not labor unions 
should be allowed. And the law of the land was that it was a 
conspiracy and restraint of trade for laborers to organize. The 
mine workers we could see were very oppressed and had no self- 
determination, practically, at all. And if they joined the union, 
they would get fired. So it was a great day when the National 
Labor Relations Board was passed and it was made unlawful for an 
employer to fire an employee because he had joined the union. 

Shearer: What were you doing the year the NLKB was passed? 

Nelson: I was probably in college. But those were the fermenting issues 
of the times. You don t just pass anything as bold as that. 
Things like that, there s a whole change of philosophy in a nation. 
It takes a genesis period of ten years or so. So it was in the 
discussion stage and debate stage when I was a senior in high 
school. And it actually came while I was in college. 

Shearer: I guess that example of the long lead time that s required for 
social change was not lost on you. 

Nelson: [laughing] No 

Shearer: Fighter! And a long, uphill battle. 

Nelson: Oh, yes. Yes. You know, it takes ten years just to get an idea 
from being a pretty well-developed idea and a necessary, maybe 
inevitable, change to having it actually accomplished and put into 
effect. 



Evolution of the Office of Consumer Counsel 



Shearer: 
Nelson: 



How did the Office of Consumer Counsel come about? 
was it? 



Whose idea 



Well, it was an idea that had first been tenatively attempted in 
the forties in the New Deal, in Washington. This was in connection 
with rationing. Since rationing fell upon everybody in a consumer 
role, they wanted some consumer participation in order to cause 
more acceptance of the program. So there was a group of people, 
and many of them were women at the time, who were brought in as 
kind of volunteers, unpaid, to sit on the rationing board and 
things like that. 



Shearer: Women were brought in? 

Nelson: Yes. Yes, they were unpaid. And I heard Lena Ware, who was one 

of them, and Persia Campbell, who was another, talk about how they 
would come to the meetings this was in Washington, by the way 
of the Office of Price Administration and then everybody would go 
to the cafeteria for lunch. But there was a dining room for the 
men. And the women couldn t have lunch with the men. Then they d 
go back after lunch and rejoin the group. 

Shearer: What happened between the early forties and Governor Averell 
Harrlman of New York? 

Nelson: One of the women who were brought in in that role was Harriman s 
sister, his older sister. And she got a feel for the importance 
of the consumer. And she was a good consumer protagonist. 

Shearer: What was her name, do you remember? 

Nelson: No, I think it was Sarah, but I ll find out if you need. And the 
legend, which I believe, is that when Harriman became governor 
of New York, then she pressed upon him that he now had the 
privilege to create a consumer representative for the State of 
New York. And she was very insistent with him, and it was her 
pleading that caused Harriman to create an Office of Consumer 
Counsel, and to appoint Persia Campbell to it. He created that by 
executive order, in 1954. He was elected in 54 but he was unseated 
in the election of 58. 

Shearer: What happened to the Office of Consumer Counsel then? 

Nelson: Well, it went out in New York. But Pat Brown was aware of the idea 
in New York. In 57- 58 we had a recession in this country, a 
serious one. But that was probably the first recession we had 
where prices did not decline as unemployment increased. And so, 
there was a great deal of concern among union people and socially 
minded people that families were not able to exercise their own 
voices and fend for themselves in the marketplace with the wages 
that they had, and that there should be an office in government that 
represented the consumer interests just the same as it had become 
accepted to represent first commerce and agriculture and then labor. 
So that idea was prominent at the time, particularly among union 
people. 

Pat Brown sent George Brunn to New York to study the office 
there. And George Brunn advised him about how it went and so 
forth. Pat Brown made the creation of a Consumer Counsel Office 
one of his ten commitments if he were elected. Those were days 
when politicians made specific commitments. 



Shearer: 
Nelson: 



Shearer: 



Nelson: 
Shearer: 

Nelson: 



Shearer: 

Nelson: 

Shearer: 



This was in 1957? 

Yes. And this was one of the ten promises he made if he were 
elected. He was elected, and he fell immediately to creating the 
office. In the same election where he was elected, Harriman was 
unseated. So New York s office ceased to be. Incidentally, it 
was Nelson Rockefeller that came in at that time and fired the 
consumer counsel and abolished the office. 

When I talked to George Brunn the other day, he recalled being 
given the assignment to do a kind of a white paper on the Office 
of Consumer Counsel at some time during 1957 along with some 
other lawyers and political supporters. And he said the Office 
of Consumer Counsel was down toward the bottom of the list. What 
were some of the other commitments? 



I don t remember. 

Had you known about it or been aware of it? 
for the position? 



How were you chosen 



Yes. I was working in the State Department of Industrial Relations 
in the Division of Labor Statistics and Research, which is the 
counterpart of the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the federal 
government. I was there as a statistician and research economist 
then. 

I had developed a program of providing information to parties 
in negotiation labor and management about prevailing practices in 
an area or an industry. We had collected all the labor-management 
negotiated contracts in the state of any size and had developed 
a system of classifying them and coding them and sorting them with 
IBM equipment so that we could very readily provide a great deal 
of accurate information to people so they could negotiate in the 
light of the facts instead of assertion. 

In the course of this, I came to know a great many union 
leaders and also industry people. Another one of the things I 
did was to make a survey of the cost of living for a single 
working woman for the Industrial Welfare Commission. 

That had never been done before, I guess. 
I guess not. I don t think so. 
How did you happen to do that? 



Nelson: Well, the Industrial Welfare Commission was another part, another 
division of the Department of Industrial Relations. The Division 
of Labor Statistics was trying to meet the research and statistical 
needs of all the other departments as a service. So it was probably 
the chief of my division who selected me for this assignment. 
But I worked with the commission; they set up the quantities the 
minimum things that a single working woman would need and then I 
hired some people and we priced that budget in six cities in 
California. And we made a composite cost for California. So I had the 
experience not only in wages, but on the expenditure side of 
things. 

There was a conference at Asilomar in the early part of the 
governor s campaign. Consumers Union put up the money. This was 
the first conference about unemployment and consumer interests. 
People from the labor unions, and people who were interested in 
prices and consumer issues, some professors from Stanford, and 
some from Berkeley, all convened at Asilomar for the weekend. And 
I think (I m not quite sure of this) Pat Brown spoke and at that 
point he reiterated his commitment to create this office. 

He never wavered about it but he had great difficulty with the 
legislature. After Harriman lost that office, because it was only 
by executive order, Governor Brown felt it was essential that he 
provide a statutory base for the office and get the legislature to 
agree with him on it. The bill that ultimately came out was only 
a fragment of the bill that went in. 

Shearer: In terms of powers? 

Nelson: Yes, powers and budget totals. It was resisted very strongly by 
the California Retailers Association, by some of the newspapers 

Shearer: What newspapers opposed it? 

Nelson: Oh, I don t know. It could very well have been their association, 
the California Newspaper Publishers. The Republican party was 
opposed to the idea. And it was very difficult to point out 
precisely why we had to have it. We never had had it, and the 
citizenry wasn t organized to lobby the legislature for it. So the 
bill that was eventually passed reduced the office to one that 
advised the governor and the legislature about legislation in the 
consumer interest, and informed the public about consumer welfare. 
And it called for an advisory committee to be appointed by the 
governor. It was only about three or four paragraphs the whole 
thing. 



Nelson: 



Shearer: 
Nelson: 

Shearer: 

Nelson: 

Shearer: 
Nelson: 



Shearer: 



Nelson: 



Shearer: 
Nelson: 
Shearer: 
Nelson: 



And then the budget was made for it. In the first year, which was 
not a full year, because the office became effective in October 
instead of the first of July (the state had the July-to-June fiscal 
year), they appropriated about $25,000 for the office. 

How did that stack up with some of the others? 

At that time this was the only office of its kind in any state. 
It s just very difficult to compare it with anything. There was 
myself and a secretary, and that s all there was in the project. 

Another office I remember that was promised and set up, I think, 
in 1960 was the Office of Radiation Protection and Atomic Energy 
Development. How did your budget compare with that? 

Well, he had more money than I did, but we were both pretty much 
stepchildren. We were housed together, or adjoining. 

You and Colonel Alex Grendon. 

Yes. We became good friends and we helped each other in some ways, 
because I had no colleagues and he had no colleagues. If you were 
preparing something you had nobody to look it over. He would 
check my computations and I would check his press releases. And 
so we were good friends . 

We were housed at first in what had been Alan Cranston s 
storeroom on the first floor. It was an inside room, no windows. 
Alan was controller then, and he gave up this little bit of space 
so we could be in the Capitol building, and the first floor was 
sort of the governor s floor. We were not in the governor s 
suite but we were across from it. 



How big was it? 
by ten. 



It was a storeroom; it must have been about ten 



No, it was bigger than that. We stayed there for the whole seven 
years. I had most of the room, as it turned out. I m not very 
good at but it would be at least a thousand square feet. But it 
was all crannies and nooks. 

It was compartmented? 

Yes. 

And you and the Office of Radiation Protection shared this space? 

There was a corridor between us, a very narrow corridor. And his 
door went that way and mine went this way. 

II 



10 



Advis ory Committee Membership and Functions 



Shearer: 



Nelson: 



Shearer: 



Nelson: 



The charge to your office was to advise the governor and the 
legislature concerning legislation on consumer affairs and to inform 
the public regarding welfare of the consumer? And it also set up 
an advisory committee which would advise you? 



Yes. Advise the Office of Consumer Counsel, 
committee was appointed by Governor Brown. 



And that advisory 



The first advisory committee was constituted pretty much 
around consumer education. So there were superintendents of 
schools and a chancellor from the Vocational College at San Luis 
Obispo, and people from the PTA, and the American Association of 
University Women, that kind of representation on the advisory 
committee. 

These would be considered sort of opinion makers in the educational 
field who could then disseminate the information? 

Right. And George Brunn was the chairman, he was the chairman 
the first four or five years. The advisory committee as first 
constituted directed its attention to consumer education in the 
public schools. After a long time, they pretty much concluded 
that there was practically none, and there wasn t much they could 
do about it. 

Shearer: Why was this? 

Nelson: Well, the curriculum in California schools is mandated and flows 

out from I guess, the superintendent of public instruction. There 
was no community pressure for this kind of education. There was 
community pressure for driver training education and things like 
that, but there was no community pressure for consumer education. 
It was too new, and people didn t realize that they were deficient 
because they didn t have it. And so, without the community support, 
it was impossible for people who were well meaning and well placed 
in the education system, as were the advisors, to do anything about 
it. So, that was one of our first disappointments, and we tried 
that one very hard. 

Shearer: How long did it take before you realized that it just wasn t going 
to work? 

Nelson: That took two or three years. 

Shearer: Meantime, you had other projects cooking along? 



11 



Nelson: Right, yes. Oh, yes. And over time the composition of the advisory 
committee changed to reflect this we had a retailer from Long 
Beach, and we always had representation from the AAUW on the 
advisory committee, usually from San Diego. 

Shearer: I have a list of the members of the advisory committee but not 
identified by their affiliation. I thought maybe that might 
refresh your recollection. I have Don Vial down there as chairman 
at some point, as well. 

Nelson: I think he came at the end, after George got appointed a judge, 
[looking at list] Yes, I can identify all these people. 

Cecil Candler was from the Better Business Bureau in San Diego. 
Virna Cans on was with the NAACP in Sacramento and she s now the 
western regional director of the NAACP. Leo Dardarian was a 
management consultant at Foster s. (They operated bakeries and 
restaurants.) Lucille Desmond was interested in education lovely 
person from Madera. Susan Adams Donovon came out of the labor 
movement in Los Angeles and was at that time the labor movement s 
representative on the community relations of the United Crusade. 
Eva Goodwin was a member of the Berkeley Co-op [Cooperative 
Shopping Centers]. Virginia Lyon was AAUW, San Diego. Roy D. 
Murray was an elected officer of IBEW, the electrical workers 
union. 

Shearer: That s the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers? 

Nelson: Yes. David Selcer was a womens apparel retailer in Long Beach. 
Clara Shirpser is a property owner in Berkeley and had been until 
shortly before this office was created the Democratic state 
commit teewoman. Norvel Smith was a black educator from Oakland. 
Robert Spears was in a labor union in San Diego I think the 
machinists . Winfield Shoemaker was a schoolteacher in Lompoc, who 
later ran for office and was elected to the legislature. 



Role of the Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley 



Shearer: Did you have any luck with the Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley 
in publicizing your programs? 

Nelson: Yes, yes. The Co-op was probably our most steadfast and valuable 
supporter as a single thing. There were some circumstances in 
which the State Federation of Labor played very decidedly a role 
of savior or rescuer. We worked very closely with the Co-op, and 
many of their staff people came and testified at the hearings. 
They carried our news releases in stories in their News. And they 



12 



Nelson: had a good deal of the technical expertise and professional 

expertise in nutrition and food marketing, and meat cutting, which 
was very valuable. They could speak from knowledge of the market 
place, but from the consumer point of view, because they were a 
market made up of consumers. They were tremendously valuable as 
witnesses and as supporters. 

Shearer: I know that in recent years the Co-op has been a very vigorous 
participant in the political process on behalf of its consumer 
members. And of course, the Co-op News is an important vehicle 
for reaching the consumer. Was that always the case? 

Nelson: In my experience, yes. It may have developed more, during periods 
the Office [of Consumer Counsel] was there. 

Shearer: Did you think of the Co-op as a consumer lobby, essentially? 

Nelson: Yes. And I worked very closely with them. I spoke at their annual 
meetings and their semi-annual meetings. I did a weekly report on 
KPFA for several years, so that they could have access to what was 
being done. 



Selection of the Consumer Counsel 



Shearer: Back to your selection as Consumer Counsel, how did that come 
about? 

Nelson: I ve mentioned that in my job at the Department of Industrial 

Relations, I had become acquainted with labor union leaders and 
management leaders. Shortly after Pat Brown was elected governor 
or about the same time, my husband received a promotion at the 
Department of Rehabilitation from the San Francisco office to 
headquarters in Sacramento where he was developing a program he 
was very much interested in: sheltered workshops for the severely 
handicapped and also procuring necessary medical care for clients 
of the department. So naturally he wanted to move there and he did. 
So I began to look for a job in Sacramento. I had a good job here, 
and there weren t many in Sacramento that I would trade for. 

After the governor was elected, he was entertaining a group 
of Young Democrats at the Mansion one day. And he was talking 
about his program and how he was going to create this office. He 
referred to the appointee in the masculine, and he said that 
whomever he appointed, "he would be an economist or a lawyer." So 
somebody said, "Why do you refer to him as an he ?" So Pat 
hastily corrected himself. This was probably the lead on the story. 



13 



Nelson: And so that was my cue. If he was now alerted that a woman 

should be considered and he was going to appoint an economist or 
a lawyer, why I would try as an economist. 

So I just set about to try to get the appointment. 1 didn t 
know him; I had never met him until the day he interviewed me 
for the job. 

Shearer: I think I read somewhere that Clara Shirpser had some very nice 
things to say about you at that point. Very early on she had 
recommended that you be considered. And I think Elizabeth Snyder 
also had recommended you. 

Nelson: Yes, that s right. And then I solicited support from a lot of the 
labor union leaders, and from management, and from the American 
Association of University Women as a general member. 

Shearer: You were successful, then, in gaining support of the labor leaders. 
This was their kind of an issue? 

Nelson: Yes, their kind of an issue. And they felt comfortable with me. 

So they were pretty active in recommending me for the appointment. 

Shearer: Which unions in particular? 

Nelson: Well, I think this was true of the State Federation of Labor, 

probably. The IBEW local in the East Bay, and the culinary workers 
in southern California. 

Shearer: Was there anyone who opposed you? 
Nelson: Yes! 

Shearer: You in particular, or you as someone who would fill that dangerous 
post? 

Nelson: Well, I guess I don t know that. But there were many other 
candidates . 

Shearer: Who were the others? 

Nelson: I think for quite a long time Liz Snyder was a candidate. And Ruth 
Gupta. 

Shearer: Elizabeth Snyder was very active in southern California Democratic 
politics, and was, I believe, southern California chairman of 
the Democratic State Central Committee. Ruth Gupta I can t place. 



14 



Nelson: Ruth Gupta is a lawyer out of San Francisco. She and I were 

together at Mills when I went there. She married a man from India 
and took his name of Gupta. She had been active in the governor s 
campaign; I had not. And she had done some lobbying in Sacramento 
and was much better known in Sacramento than I was. 

Shearer: Do you think that worked for her or against her? 

Nelson: I don t know. I think it worked for her for quite a long time. 
And there were people very close to the governor who felt that I 
was not enough one of them. I hadn t been in the campaign, and 
they didn t know how loyal I would be in a crush, and that I hadn t 
"earned a job." [laughter] I earned it after I got it. 
f| 

Shearer: How did Elizabeth Snyder change from being a competitor to your 
booster? 

Nelson: Liz was a real team player. She wanted the best for the governor. 
She was neither a lawyer nor an economist and when women 
candidates from each of these professions became available, I 
expect she graciously yielded. 

Shearer: Were there any individuals or organizations who opposed your 

appointment, that is, who were opposition as distinguished from 
competition? 

Nelson: Undoubtedly, but those things don t become matters of record. There 
was no letter of opposition in my file when I ultimately saw it. 
//#* 

But some people were very instrumental in my getting the job. 
One of them was Clark Kerr, who talked to the governor. And Jack 
Henning. He s the secretary of the State Federation of Labor now 
State AF of L-CIO. 

Shearer: Is he the man who in 54 and again in 56 supported Yorty s 
candidacy for the Senate?** 

Nelson: It doesn t seem probably, but anything can happen in California 

politics. Jack Henning was research director for the AF of L-CIO 
during a lot of the time that I was in the Department of Industrial 
Relations. I was doing research, he was doing research, and we had 
worked together. He had moved on to being the top man in the 
organization by this time. He was backing my candidacy because 
this was an important thing to labor. 

In some cases, there are people who would like to use the 
consumer interest to destroy or diminish labor. The organized 
labor people were very anxious to have this office held by someone 
who understood the mission of labor unions and the reason that they 
exist, what their fundamental principles are. 



*The two preceding questions were posed to Mrs. Nelson following 
the taped interview and added to the transcript. 

John Despol was the Yorty supporter. 



** 



15 



Shearer: How could the office be used to destroy unions? 

Nelson: Well, there had been a book written about that time by a person 
named Pei. It was something like The Powerful Consumer. It was 
proposed in his little book that instead of having labor-management 
relations collective bargaining, there should be a three-party 
thing, and you should have somebody in there representing 
consumers, concerned about prices. Then, instead of the two 
people making the contract (the consumer wouldn t be a party to the 
contract; it s not a very viable idea), there would be an intellectual 
wedge to diminish or destroy labor union strength, as the labor 
unions saw it. 

Shearer: In the context of the bargaining arena? 

Nelson: Yes. And there was a large question as to whether this office 
might be used to intrude into labor-management and collective 
bargaining. Well, people are afraid of the unknown, you know. 
And so apparently Jack Henning felt that I understood what the 
score was there and that I didn t have an interest in attempting 
that. 

I d known Clark Kerr when he was head of the Institute of 
Industrial Relations at Cal. So he knew the quality of my work 
and my professional reputation. Both of them talked to the 
governor. 

The governor had hired Persia Campbell to come out as a consultant 
to him in choosing the candidate. So Persia interviewed all of us 
about all kinds of things. And she asked my husband if I could make 
a pie. 

Shearer: She interviewed your husband! Did she interview the wives of the 
other candidates? 

Nelson: [laughing] I don t know. 

Shearer: How did that strike you? 

Nelson: It irritated me. 

Shearer: What did your husband say? 

Nelson: Well, he told her, yes, I could, because I can. [laughter] Well, 
she was serious at the same time she was being kind of whimsical. 
It was at dinner one night (we took her out to dinner) . 

She was in Sacramento for ten days or so, spending time with 
first one, and then another of us. 



16 



Shearer: What do you feel in her assessment turned to your favor? 

Nelson: Well, she was an economist, and I think she liked the fact that I 
was an economist and that I had a clear concept of the consumer 
in a market economy the economic concept of it. And I had a fair 
idea of how this office should invest its time and efforts and 
how it shouldn t. By that time I had done a lot of thinking about 
it and had a long list of things that 1 was ready to say we 
couldn t tackle immediately under the narrow mandate that we had. 
So I think it was those things that she liked. 

And then she did say to me, not when she was interviewing 
me but quite some time later, she said, "You give the consumer 
movement class." Which pleased me. She liked the fact that 1 
tried to dress well and look all right. 

Shearer: But also your professional credentials were impeccable. 

Nelson: Yes, that s right. Well, she had class. She was a great woman. 

Shearer: When you actually took office, did you know what your budget would 
be? 

Nelson: No. I knew that they d had a great deal of difficulty getting the 
office. By the time the governor interviewed me, I think he was 
uncertain of what he was going to do. I mean, who he was going to 
appoint. 1 didn t get any suggestion from him when I went in that 
this was just pro forma or something of the sort. 

He started the conversation by saying, "You sure have got a 
lot of friends." 

So I said, "Governor, if you appoint me to this job I ll need 
em!" [laughter] 

And he laughed. And I think that made him feel better because 
I knew it was going to be rough. Then he asked the question, 
"You re going to take a position, you re going to have a point of 
view, and I may have the same one, I may have something else, or 
I may not take a position. But what are you going to do when I 
take a position which differs from the one you ve been advocating, 
as I may have to do?" 

So I said that I would advocate what I believed as long as I 
could, and when he told me that the policy was different from that 
and what it was, and it was his policy, then it was my job to 
either support that policy or get out. 

He felt, I think, that I would do the necessary thing gracefully 
when it had to be done. 



17 



When Principle and Policy Clash 



Shearer: Did that occasion ever arise? 
Nelson: Oh, yes. 

Shearer: What were some of the times when he took a position different from 
that you had advocated? 

Nelson: [pause] He had to act on lots of things. I m not sure I can be 
specific. 

Well, there was one thing, for example. One of these 
restrictive little bills that the optometrists put through to 
restrict the market for who can advertise or something like that. 
And it was obviously a kind of restraint-of-trade idea. And he 
vetoed it. So in the next term in the legislature, they came back 
in with the same bill and they passed it, eighty to two or something 
like that. 

There was a routine through which that kind of bill would come 
to me for my comment before it went to him. Well, naturally, I said 
this was adverse to the consumer interest. But, you know, he was 
very straight about it. He called me up and said, "You understand, 
don t you, that I vetoed it once and now it s eighty to two, I can t 
veto against that." And I said, "Yes, sure, I understand." 

So it was that kind of thing. There was no point in his playing 
games when he had that kind of numbers against him. 

Shearer: Was there any one time in which you really agonized over taking a 
position and considered maybe having to resign? 

Nelson: Oh, yes. They were probably most often in the field of credit 
legislation, in which we did a good deal of pathfinding. There 
are very powerful forces in that industry, in the insurance 
industry. When you get credit and insurance, you get the two of 
them combined 

Shearer: Such as savings and loans, and banks, and title 

Nelson: Yes, that s right, savings and loans and banks and title insurance. 
We were no match for most of those interests. Bills would get 
through and appointments would be made that you knew were not in 
consumer interest. 






18 



Struggling To Protect the Consumer Interest 



Shearer: When you say "we were no match," do you mean, "We, the Office of 
Consumer Counsel, were no match for the big lobbyists"? 

Nelson: Right. We were no match for the insurance industry. The insurance 
industry could lobby much more effectively than we could. They 
could, if necessary, get a whole lot of press. And they had 
legislators committed to them. Of course, they came out of the 
insurance industry, for example, or the real estate industry, or 
whatever. And our little office, with no clout, and nothing but a 
mouth, couldn t overcome some of their arguments and some of their 
machinations. That isn t fair to call them that, but they wanted 
things and they got them. 

Shearer: All your charge really allowed you to do was to have the governor s 
ear. 

Nelson: To have the governor s ear, that s right. And the legislature s, 
but not in any formal way. I d have to speak to legislators 
individually, one after another. 

Shearer: You couldn t send out a report from the Office of Consumer Counsel? 

Nelson: I didn t to the legislature. I did frequently make statements at 
the committee hearings in a formal way with a prepared text and 
leave that with all the members of the committee. But there was 
no way that we could really address the whole of the legislature, 
[tape fade out, recapitulation] 

A few times, we or somebody we were working with, some citizens 
group, would stand at the entrance to the senate and hand out fact 
sheets. 

it 

Nelson: At the same time we had many unhappy occurrences with testimony 
before committees. For example, there was a committee in the 
legislature which heard most of the health bills, the public 
health bills. And we were carrying bills to improve child safety 
in the home [controlling things] like toxic substances and cleaning 
agents. And those would all come before this committee, which, 
typically, always had lunch before the hearings began at one- 
thirty with the drug manufacturers. So we would try to bring some 
young mothers in from the Sacramento area to be at the hearings and 
testify, if necessary, and to indicate that there was some concern 
about this problem. And when that happened sometimes the chairman 
of the committee, when the bill came up in its regular order on the 
calendar, would skip over it and put it down at the bottom of the 
calendar. 



19 



Shearer: If he saw the women in the audience? 

Nelson: Yes. Then it would come up on the calendar toward five or five- 
thirty. These women all had young children; they had to get home. 
They d arrived at one-thirty, and so by the time he called the 
bill, eventually, the women supporters would have dissipated. 
Which of course he knew would happen, as well as I did. 

Shearer: This was called the Committee on Health? 

Nelson: It was called the Committee on Public Health, yes. 

Shearer: Who was the chairman? 

Nelson: Oh, [pause] I ve happily forgotten. 

Shearer: Was it someone who generally opposed the bills or your proposed 
amendments to the bills? 

Nelson: Well, they were a committee that was acquiescent to forces in the 
industry. And there were no countervailing forces on the scene. 
So it was easy for them to believe that they were doing what was 
right. The chairman of this committee was a pharmacist from the 
East Bay. Byron Rumford. That was in the assembly. About the 
same thing happened in the senate. 

Shearer: Did this situation change at all? 

Nelson: No. I think it s changed now. I don t think it s as bad now as 

it was then. Because there s been more light put on this committee. 
The press is getting more educated. The press understands better 
what s being played out and can report it. And television cameras 
have come into legislative committee hearings. That, and a more 
educated citizenry that s not as frightened as it used to be. 



Developing Clout in the Political Arena 



Shearer: 



Nelson: 



How did you organize the women to appear as witnesses? 
part of the function of the advisory committee? 



Was this 



No, our office did it mostly. It s very difficult, you know; it 
takes a lot of time. But we were committed not the first year 
when I had nothing but a secretary but the next year, when I got 
about three people added. And of those three, I recruited a public 
information officer Jane Dachtelberg. She was absolutely marvelous, 
She did a great deal of this. She researched topics, 
she would write the press releases after I had written testimony. 



20 



Nelson: She was an enthusiastic person and she brought a good many people 

to want to support and to want to do. There are always people that 
want to help get the right thing done, to help it happen, but don t 
know how all by themselves. So we were the access, we made the 
channel, and they could come in. 

So a lot of young, and older women, too, got a good deal of 
self-fulfillment out of that period of time, because they were 
doing something they believed in. And they could do it in addition 
being good mothers. They were educated women who were raising 
small children, by and large, who were the core of this group of 
people that came around us. 

We developed them by all kinds of communications. I made 
oh, thirty, forty speeches a year, besides all the television and 
radio and newspapers. 

Shearer: That s a speech a week, or more if you also have all those 
newspaper and radio speeches . 

Nelson: Yes, that s right. I used to try not to make a speech in December. 
I just felt like I had to have a little time out. I never quite 
succeeded. I usually felt impelled to go someplace and make the 
Christmas speech, you know, where the men brought their wives. 

Shearer: If you got your staff increased by two-thirds you must have 
gotten a higher appropriation in the next year. 

Nelson: That s right, yes. Let s see, it was $65,000 the second year, as 
I recall, and then it went up to about $100,000. And at its top, 
it was about $125,000. 

Shearer: What do you think it would take to develop the kind of clout that 
you would need for that office? 

Nelson: Well, you d have to have groups of consumers who are organized on 
a standing basis. You d have to have consumers organized like 
agriculture is organized: into the Farm Bureau and the Farmers 
Union. 

Really, the only way it can happen, you have to have a 
continuing organization with some executive full-time staff that s 
always where you can reach them. And they know what the policies 
in truth are. And it s to their own interest and they know it s 
to their own interest to advance those policies. Naturally. 

Shearer: And an augmented budget? 

Nelson: Oh, sure, an augmented budget helps. You can provide technical 
services to these groups if you ve got a budget. 



21 



Shearer: 
Nelson: 

Shearer: 
Nelson: 



Shearer: 
Nelson: 



Shearer: 



Nelson: 



Shearer: 
Nelson: 



And more speaking engagements. 

Right. And help them develop their priorities and understand the 
issues. Yes, you d have to have a budget. 

You had free access to the governor. Was that helpful? 

Well, technically I did. I didn t see him very often. He insisted 
from the outset that I have the maximum independence from his 
office. He went counter to some of his top staff to do this, that 
I should have sole responsibility for hiring of my staff, that I 
made my own budget and defend my own budget. He tried to refer 
to it as the Office of Consumer Counsel. And every way he could, 
he gave us a position of our own. He was very firm about that from 
the outset. He always was. 

Did you propose the increases in your budget? 

Yes. Yes. And our proposal, like everybody else s proposal, had 
to go to the governor s office before it went to the legislature. 
In that way, we were no different from anybody. 



So we always got hacked first by the governor s office, 
we got hacked further, much further, by the legislature. 



Then 



I was speaking to Mrs. Brown a few weeks ago. And she was recalling 
with great pleasure the times she worked with you. How did that 
happen? Did that enhance your efforts? 

It was more likely the other way around. She was very gracious, 
and there were lots of women s events always. So we were 
occasionally I wouldn t say frequently but occasionally together 
in a planned way at an event. 

Did she actually have a speaking role, give an address of advocacy? 

No, no, no. Most likely we would be at a chapter of the AAUW or 
something like that where she would speak and I would, too. 

She was outspoken on revolving credit charge accounts and she 
would embarrass the Retailers Association because Mrs. Brown would 
send me down a thing that she got from a department store that had 
added 1 1/2 percent interest to her bill while she d been somewhere 
with the governor. And she made a wonderful quote that "When you get 
home from a short trip, grab a pen and pay the bill 
before you take off your hat I" [laughter] 

She has quite a lovely sense of humor, and she can maintain a 
light tone while she s being serious. So she would tell about the 
showers, for example, all the varieties that she would encounter 



22 



Nelson: in the hotel room while she was with her husband. And how this one 
would go this way, you know, she would do a very good Erma Bombeck 
about it. She d say, "I m going to write a letter to Helen Nelson 
about this!" 

She was a good promoter. 

Shearer: These were largely ceremonial occasions? 
Nelson: Yes. She didn t ever come before a hearing or anything like that. 

Shearer: If you had to select the most significant asset for your type of 
position, would it be an organized citizenry, so you could sort 
of "call out the troops" in the case of a bill being heard before 
a committee? 

Nelson: Yes, I suppose it would. I suppose it would, yes. It s enormously 
difficult to carry out anything continuing year after year after 
year, which is what this is. It s not an ad hoc thing like you 
once and for all time settle the issue, and then the coalition 
dissolves. This is not a coalition kind of deal. You have 
coalitions, but fundamentally, you need a basic group of people 
who are committed to work to improve their role as consumers. They 
go from one project to another. They have to be continuing because 
they have to hang in there most of the time. It just doesn t 
happen right off. So there has to be a continuing group that knows 
that they ve got to keep trying again and again and again. If they 
get a bill passed, then they have to see how it s implemented, who 
gets put on the board, and what are the rules and regulations. 

We haven t yet come to that point in the consumer world. 

Shearer: So that would be even more important than access to the governor? 
Nelson: Oh, yes. Yes. That s the most important thing of all in politics. 



Getting Access to the Governor 



Shearer: You didn t have to go through another layer of administration to 
reach the governor? You didn t have to speak to Fred Button? 

Nelson: Oh, yes. I had to plead to get on the governor s calendar. It 
was very difficult and I frequently didn t make it. Once in a 
while, I would talk to one of his woman secretaries and say I 
just have to see him, and there s no room on the calendar. She 
would pass this on to the governor and he would invite me to 
breakfast at the Mansion, and we could talk there before he went 
to the office. 



23 



Nelson: But as the administration wore on, I saw the governor less and 

less. There was more effort on the part of his top staff to keep 
me from meeting frequently with the governor. 

Shearer: Why was that? 

Nelson: Well, I don t know. I was probably costing him votes. 

Shearer: Because of positions you urged? They found that he tended to listen 
to you and act as you persuaded him to? Who were the people who 
made it difficult for you to see him? 

Nelson: Oh, Fred Button and Hale Champion. 

Shearer: 1 thought that Fred Button was instrumental in writing the original 
legislation for the Office of Consumer Counsel. 

Nelson: Well, he may have been. But he was not a supporter of mine when I 
was a candidate. He told me that I could choose my secretary and 
he would choose the rest of the people, and he would make my 
budget. My authority was limited to choosing my secretary. And 
then I very readily got different word from the governor. 

Shearer: Bid that seem untoward to you? 
Nelson: Fred s yes! It was impossible. 
Shearer: So you challenged Button. 

Nelson: Right. I think Fred just didn t understand the whole thing. The 
governor knew that I had to be out there taking positions that he 
couldn t take. He would necessarily take as few positions as 
possible, and I had to take a lot of them. It s very valuable to 
have somebody like the consumer counsel to take a position which 
is considered at that point in time to be way out. But even so, it 
pulls the other [conservative] group a little bit further toward 
this direction and it prevents anybody from pushing them, pulling 
them back even further into reaction. So, a lot of the time, you 
just have to do what the old saying says, plant a standard so that 
other people can rally. You re not going to succeed with it this 
year, but you plant a standard and say this is the way it ought to 
be. 

Shearer: Sounds as though there was a method to the governor s political 
"madness" of making your office independent. 

Nelson: I m sure there was. And he had a very good understanding of what 

this office was, and a very keen appreciation of it. And sometimes 
I got the feeling that he rather enjoyed thinking of me as an alter 
ego. He wished he could do some of the things I did. 



24 



Nelson: 



Shearer: 
Nelson: 

Shearer: 
Nelson: 

Shearer: 

Nelson: 

Shearer: 

Nelson: 

Shearer: 

Nelson: 



Shearer: 
Nelson: 

Shearer: 



The person in the governor s office has to make so many compromises 
and walk between all the different forces. It was really a great 
deal of freedom to just take the position that I thought was right, 
or to take a position that was exactly right for only one segment 
of the citizenry, and that s the consumers. And he had to think 
ab out everybo dy . 

I think that he enjoyed dealing with controversy. He had a 
very good attitude. I would frequently offend somebody in industry 
mightily. So they would call the governor and complain. So he 
told me, "When that happens," he said, "I tell them that if you 
weren t making some people mad, you wouldn t be trying hard enough." 
[laughter] 

It sounds as though you came out of your years of association with 
Pat Brown a strong admirer of his. Is that true? 

Yes, I admire him. I do. I think he did an awful lot. Very few 
people have done what he did in this hard way. 

How long was Fred Dutton in the governor s inner circle? 

I don t know. Probably about two years, because then he went into 
the Kennedy campaign for president. 

After he left, did his successor continue to intercede between 
Brown and you? 

Yes. Hale Champion took over. 

So they were still trying to stave you off? 

Yes. 

Was Hale Champion the most powerful voice in that group? 

Yes. He became executive secretary. He was very powerful, and the 
governor had to rely on him. The governor just can t be everywhere. 
Hale was a very hard worker, and Hale kept on top of more details 
than most anybody could. 

How did he see the job of consumer counsel. do you think? 

The best reading I could get of it is that he felt it was costing 
the governor too many votes, and that after they had gotten the good 
out of creating the office, it ought to be kind of quiet. 

Wasn t Hale Champion his campaign manager at one time, or very active 
in the campaign? 



25 



The Consumer Counsel as Vote Getter 



Nelson: Yes, he managed the campaign. But we were a tremendous asset as 

vote getters, too. And they used us tremendously in the election. 

Shearer: How did that happen? Just by reference? 

Nelson: No, I went out and spoke all the time, and went to meetings, and 
issued publications about what Governor Brown s Consumer Counsel 
Office has done for you, and things like that. 

Shearer: Was it different in tone and content from the kind of speaking that 
you were doing ordinarily? 

Nelson: It was different, somewhat different in tone. You drop the governor s 
name more often. In an election year, I became Governor Brown s 
consumer counsel and the rest of the time I was the state consumer 
counsel. 

But that was something I was very willing to do. He had stuck 
out his neck a great deal for that office and it was a part of 
him. It was a part of his program. And if my presence out in the 
community could help to make that point I was happy to do it. 

But practically always I was talking consumer issues to groups 

of people who were interested in consumer issues. I went to some 

[Democratic] party things. I would go to party things in my home 
county and I would go to state party things. 



Consumer Allies and Opposition 



Shearer: Did you have the support of labor throughout your two terms? 

Nelson: Yes. Labor helped us a great deal of the time. They helped us 

particularly in credit legislation, to improve some of the rights 
of the consumer when they were violated. They really helped us get 
the crucial last votes on bills. When they had (as they call it) 
"called in their chips" this man owes me one, and I ll ask him 
for it now the kind of thing that we didn t have any claim to at 
all. 

Shearer: Were there any legislators who were your allies? 



26 



Nelson: Yes, we had some good allies in the legislature. Senator [Albert] 

Rodda, certainly. Shoemaker, who had been on our advisory committee. 

Shearer: That s Winfield Shoemaker? 

Nelson: Yes. Tony Beilenson was always pretty friendly, and after him, his 
successor, Alan Sieroty. 

Shearer: These people actually introduced legislation that you had suggested? 

Nelson: Yes. Yes. There was a wonderful man from down at Merced. He was 
in the senate, James A. Cobey. He came from the East, from 
Princeton or Dartmouth. He was an attorney. He was on the finance 
committee. 

Mostly typically, we had our greatest problems in the senate. 
Shearer: Why do you think that was? 

Nelson: They were more long term in the senate. They were more entrepreneur- 
oriented, and their attitudes were, by and large, more conservative. 
An assemblymen can come from Van Nuys or East Oakland, where he 
has some sense of what the people are striving for. 

There was a senator from Vallejo I think his name was Luther 
[Gibson] he owned the Vallejo newspaper. In carrying out the 
legal mandate to educate the consumers, I had put out a little 
pamphlet that said, "Credit Costs Money: Know How Much It Costs 
You." 

II 

Nelson: After I put that out, I got a letter of a page and a half from 
the senator from Vallejo saying that I should never have issued 
that pamphlet, that it was destructive of the economy, and people 
would diminish their use of credit, and that it didn t matter how 
much credit cost, and that I_ had done a terrible, terrible thing 
to tell people that they ought to know how much credit cost them. 
And he was chairman, I think, of the Senate Finance Committee. 
And he had a very close working relationship with the California 
Retailers Association. But that was the climate at that time. 
We ve gone on from there to have [a] truth in lending [bill] and 
everybody can now know [the cost of credit]. But that s the way it 
started. 

Shearer: Was truth in lending one of your efforts? 

Nelson: That was ours, yes. 

Shearer: It was? It was passed in your tenure? 



27 



Nelson: Well, at the federal level, yes. We tried it for many years while 
I was here in California. We tried to get a truth- in-lending bill 
in California. Governor Brown was very supportive of this, so 
supportive that we had a pretty full-blown hearing down in Los 
Angeles. And some witness from outside the state said, "Yes, you 
can, too, figure out the annual rates." 

The argument [of the lending institutions] was: "It s 
impossible! We can t figure out how much the percentage is!" 

Well, anyway, I wrote a statement for the governor which was 
one of the best things I ever wrote. He was very pleased. I read 
his statement and then I made one of my own which was more of a 
history. 

But we felt that that was the beginning of the destruction of 
the office. As the public information officer, Jane Dachtelberg, 
said, "We came too close. We got too close to them." 

Shearer: What year was this? 
Nelson: It was probably 1963. 

Shearer: Was that borne out, do you think? Her assessment that you d gotten 
too close? 

Nelson: Oh, yes. Yes. 

Shearer: How was that manifested? 

Nelson: Well, some of our friends in the legislature turned on us. I had 
somewhere in these years acquired an attorney for the office, 
which was terribly important. And that gave me a whole lot more 
capacity. For one thing, he could go around the halls, you know. 
He could go to the men s room. 

Shearer: That s right! 

Nelson: Oh, that s a terrible handicap! [laughter] 

Shearer: When hearings go back to back, that s the only place you can reach 
someone. 

Nelson: Yes, that s right. And they can always evade you; they can go in 
there and wait, and you can t stand by the door very long. 

But most of the legislators are attorneys, and another attorney 
can deal with them as a peer. And they can testify that this is not 
unconstitutional, whereas I as an economist could not. So you need 
both skills. But they cut his salary out and they cut his position 
out of the budget. 



28 



Shearer: After the pamphlet was published, or after truth in lending was 
proposed? 

Nelson: After the truth-in-lending effort was well along. 
Shearer: And that would have been in 1963. 
Nelson: Yes, about then. 

I felt, and still do feel, that Jesse Unruh passed the word 
to legislators that the Office of Consumer Counsel was fair game 
for shooting at. As speaker of the assembly he had great power 
and money he collected from large contributors he parceled out 
to selected members of the assembly at election time. 

Shearer: So your budget went down from $120,000 to ? 

Nelson: Yes, it went down by his salary, which was probably about $14,000 
or $15,000 then. 



Reaching Consumers in Watts 

Nelson: Our budget went up after the Watts riots. 
Shearer: That s interesting! Why? 

Nelson: That was done by the governor more than by the legislature, I think. 
Somehow the governor had I don t know how. But anyway, we got 
five or six positions, and some printing money and so forth to work 
on that. 

There were created multiservice centers and we were to have 
consumer representatives in these multiservice centers. So we got 
additional staff which was funded out of whatever money that had 
been appropriated for that riot program. 

Shearer: Was that your idea, or was that an idea of the governor s? 

Nelson: That was an idea of the governor s. We certainly demonstrated 
that we had entree in that community. After the riots, Virna 
Canson and I were about the first people from a state agency who 
went into Watts. 

Shearer: Really? 

Nelson: Yes. We knew the people there, they knew us, they didn t hold 
any grudges against us. 



29 



Nelson: We had unusual acceptance by the community because we had worked 
there. And so this was a big asset to the administration. 

Shearer: How had you worked there? What was your community outreach 
organization? 

Nelson: Mostly the churches. We d have Saturday workshops in a church. 
Shearer: On what? 

Nelson: How to buy meat, what rights have you got with your car if they 
repossess it or can they repossess it, what rights have you got 
at the grocery store. Their role as consumers was crucial because 
they had so little money. And sometimes they don t have any other 
role. They re on welfare or something, they don t have a job, they 
don t relate to the world as a wage earner. So there s a lot of 
interest in it and if you can give them helpful information in a 
peer- like relationship, with respect for them, they re very eager to 
have it. 

And there was Hawkins. Assemblyman Augustus Hawkins. He s 
now in Congress. But he was up in Sacramento part of that time. 
(There s another man, I can t remember.) We would go to Hawkins 
church and have the workshop. This would be before the riots. 

Shearer: Was he receptive to the idea at the time? 

Nelson: Oh, yes. Very. Very supportive. Except that he was sort of a 
marked man in the legislature because he had to carry all the 
equal rights legislation. And they can t spread themselves too 
thin. So you try to find an author to whom this is a primary 
interest, not just an interesting thing, because they ll give it 
more time. 



What It Takes To Influence Legislation 



Nelson: We learned that one of the most important things about trying to 
influence legislation is to have a good author. 

Shearer: Good in the sense of someone who is respected? 

Nelson: Yes, that helps, somebody that the other people respect. Somebody 
who has a real commitment to the issue and isn t just doing you a 
favor but who sees it as an advancement of his career or as a 
commitment that he s anxious to make in public to seeing this bill 
enacted. Once the discussion starts in the legislature, you re 



30 



Nelson: helpless. [If you re not a legislator], you don t belong; you 
can t talk. So your case is carried by the protagonist that 
you ve asked to do the job. And so it s terribly important to 
have a good protagonist. 

Shearer: Some protagonists you mentioned Rodda, Shoemaker, Beilenson and 
Sieroty were there others, too? Did these people fit the 
requirements equally? 

Nelson: Well, Rodda was chairman of the committee on education. And that 
was an enormous responsibility. Governor Brown was restructuring 
the university system. So Rodda was always helpful. When we 
would bring groups to Sacramento, Rodda would always give up his 
noon hour and come and talk about how a bill gets enacted. But he 
couldn t give a lot of time to a specific bill. 

Charlie Warren, who is now in Washington, was great. He was 
great. He carried our credit legislation, and really was a 
wonderful protagonist. 

John Knox carried some of it initially, and then he cooled. 
Shearer: What do you think happened? 

Nelson: Well, a lot of things. The ones that we succeeded on first were 
the easiest ones. Things that should have been done in 1900. 

Shearer: Such as? 

Nelson: Such as adding cosmetics to the Food and Drug Act. Well, none of 
them was very easy 

Shearer: To effect what? 

Nelson: In the federal law, government regulates food, drugs, and 
cosmetics . When they tried to enact this identical law in 
California, they were able to get the food part of it and the 
drug part of it, but they had to give up the cosmetics. Primarily, 
I understand, because of the Max Factor interest in southern 
California. That thing was passed in 1906 (the federal law) and 
updated in 1938 or something like that. And here we were in 1962 
and California hadn t got what Arizona had in 1906. That s not a 
good example of an easy one, because that was very hard. That 
took us about four years. 

Shearer: What would it have required of Max Factor and other cosmetic 
manufacturers? 



31 



Nelson: You have to understand that California is like an island economically. 
We don t depend very much on interstate commerce, and the federal 
government regulates interstate commerce. There are twenty million 
people in California. More people here than in all of Canada. 
As long as you manufacture in California and sell in California, 
the federal [Food and Drug Act] can t touch you. And it s a vast 
market to exploit. 

So the Food and Drug Administration people could never restrict 
or investigate any cosmetic that was produced in California and sold 
in California. And with that big a market, you get a lot of crazy 
ideas. You know, "We ll put a little mercury in this and tell 
them it ll take away their brown spots." And they had the face- 
peeling stuff to give yourself a facelift and it takes off all 
your face. 

Shearer: And that s what actually happened? People lost patches of skin? 

Nelson: Yes. We had pictures of them and we knew their names, but we 
couldn t get any of them to come to a hearing. 



Combating Consumer Fraud 



Nelson: We got that [cosmetics included] finally through a real coalition 
effort, in which the PTA joined us because they were protecting 
young people and because of their interest in health. And they re 
powerful. So the second time we went up the hill with it, we got 
it through. 

Shearer: Who carried it the first time? Was that John Knox? 

Nelson: I don t think so. 

Shearer: You said it was about 

Nelson: I think it was probably 1963. Sixty- two, sixty- three. 

Shearer: And the second time it carried? 

Nelson: Yes. Which means about four years of effort. You made two years of 
preparation time before going through the legislature and then you 
have to let one session go by before you can take it again. 

Shearer: I have a list of some issues, and I d like to ask you if these are 
the ones you think are the important ones you dealt with. Could 
you give an idea of which are the important ones, how they fared? 



32 



Nelson: [looking at list] Yes, well, these are important. There s one 

other I would add to it. The TV repair is very important because 
it demonstrates approach and outcome and a lot of things. And it 
involves the way laws are enforced in California. Law enforcement 
occurs at the local level. You have to get the district attorney 
to prosecute. The only other possibility is to [have the consumer] 
bring civil action. You know, I [the consumer] can sue the TV 
repairman, but that s going to cost me more than the repairs, so I 
don t do it. 

We worked a great deal with local jurisdictions in enforcement. 
We tried to heighten their consciousness about consumer laws and 
what they could do to make a reputation for themselves if they 
enforced them some. In this case, for example, we did investigations 
along with the LA police department on a couple of TV repair people 
we were pretty certain were fraudulent. And a man in my office 
did this and we had the evidence that they were defrauding the 
public. 

Shearer: You gained a picture of widespread fraud because of the volume of 
mail that your office received? 

Nelson: Yes, yes, that s one way you do. Often you have to mention the 

problem before you get the mail because they don t even know that 
something can be done about this. If I would mention, for example, 
we used to call them suede shoe salesmen the people who come to 
your home and do a referral sale and tell you they ll give you a 
present, and then they sell you a five-hundred dollar something. 
Which they attach to your house in some way that establishes a 
mechanic s lien, and you can t get out of the contract. 

Well, I would go on a TV program or send out a news release 
that described how this thing operated, and cautioned the public 
about it. Then I d get three-hundred letters saying, oh, this 
happened to me, or it happened to my daughter, or it happened to a 
newlywed neighbor. 

And then we d get a whole lot of leads on what the situation 
was and who s doing it. 



Stimulating Law Enforcement 



Nelson: But we couldn t do anything about it, really, except to alert 

consumers. So we tried to stimulate law enforcement. If you can 
enforce existing law, that s a whole lot better than trying to get 
a new law. So, I did a good deal of that in the earlier part of my 
period up there [in Sacramento], especially. Worked in Los Angeles, 



33 



Nelson: worked in Contra Costa County, Sacramento. I remember I came down 
to talk to the police chief in Berkeley because at that time the 
Berkeley police had a national reputation for excellence. So I 
talked to him about misleading advertising. And he said, "I ve 
been chief of police here for twelve years and it never occurred 
to me that I could enforce an advertising law." 

One of the ways that we used to increase this local law 
enforcement was a little mailer, a little sheet we put out 
periodically in which we pasted up newspaper reports, or mimeographed 
reports, or newsletter reports, anything about a district attorney 
ir a local police agency that had taken some action. And then we d 
send them to all the district attorneys. 

Shearer: Oh, the power of positive reenforcement. 

Nelson: Yes. I forgot what we called it. Oh, we called it "Crackdown." 
It was just a little duplicated sheet. It was green, I remember. 
But anyway, they began to talk about it at their regional meetings 
and their state meetings and then it became very clear to them: 
If I would do something [to enforce these laws] I could get my name 
in "Crackdown." So then they would begin calling us and saying, 
"Where is that Section so and so?" 

And of course it s in the Business and Professions Code, and 
they know only the Criminal Code! We had a joke around the office 
that we never gave legal advice except to lawyers. 

We did a lot of stimulating of local law enforcement. In the 
course of that, we worked with the LA police on the TV repair. As 
the police got to where the case was provable and actionable, the 
company just moved across the city line, and then they were free and 
clear. And in Los Angeles County, there are forty-some local 
jurisdictions. So it became clear to us that you couldn t keep 
doing all consumer law enforcement at the local level. And "self- 
regulation" didn t work. The Better Business Bureau in Sacramento 
had tried self-regulation it was either the Better Business Bureau 
or the trade association of TV repairs. They had tried by publicity 
to read somebody out of the industry because he was not meeting the 
standards of ethical conduct. And, he turned around and sued them. 
So, this self-regulating approach wouldn t work, you see. 

So, we began to think that we had to have some law that would 
apply uniformly across the state. The small TV repair [shop] owners 
were in favor of such legislation, and they worked with us. The 
reason we took TV repairs first was this kind of good fortune in 
that industry. The industry was ready to work with us. There was 
little opposition; we developed enough evidence that you can t 
handle this at the local level. Existing law doesn t meet it. 



Nelson: So I hired a young attorney to do a bit of research on the whole 

thing, you know, how do we do these things. We did it kind of like 
an engineering problem. We broke the problem down into its eight 
or nine facets, and then tried to write a solution to each one of 
them. And it worked. 

We did not have enough support from the automobile repair 
industry to do it. We prepared a bill for each at the time. But 
we couldn t get the auto thing through. 

Shearer: In every other respect, the situation was the same? Widespread 
fraud 

Nelson: Right, yes. And bigger money, more money involved, yes. And the 

criticism then and since then has been: Why did you get so exercised 
about TV repair when there s all this difficulty in auto repair? 
Well, it was the wedge. Get it first and test it out and get the 
problems out of it, and when you ve got something to point to [in the 
law], you can handle auto repair. And eventually it came out that 
way. They did do the auto repair reform, too, long after I was 
gone. There s now a pretty good auto repair law. 

We got away from the idea that the industry creates a board 
which regulates its own people. We did not license the individual 
mechanic, as they do on the real estate board (they license every 
salesman) but we made the shop owner responsible for his own help. 

Shearer: I see. So if he loses his license, then everybody in the shop is 
out of business. He can t just fire some mechanic. 

Nelson: That s right. He can t say, "I fired that guy last week." He s 
responsible. 

The immediate effect of this was first of all, the fradulent 
ones that we d been pursuing in Los Angeles closed up shop. They 
recognized that the jig was up. And shop owners all over the 
state immediately began asking the trade association and the trade 
schools and everybody else for training programs for their 
employees . 

Shearer: Now you re speaking of auto repair? 

Nelson: No, I m speaking of TV repair. Because the law made them accountable. 
It s the old thing: the person who does the work is the agent of 
the person who held himself out to do the work. The advertisement 
is that of the shop, and the shop is responsible. You know, a 
restaurant can t say, "Well, I m sorry if you got sick, I fired 
that cook." 



35 



Shearer: Or the waiter. 
Nelson: Yes. [laughter] 
Shearer: That s an excellent idea. 

Achievements in Consumer Credit Legislation 



Nelson: It was a contribution I m proud of because it pointed to the 

solution to a lot of other problems, the most serious of which was 
auto repair. 

Consumer credit, I ve said something about that. Probably 
we spent more time on that, and more energy and more creativity, 
and more hard knocks. But we did quite a bit of very substantial 
good for the citizens of California. One of the valuable things 
we got was legislation that goes to what the lawyers call holder- 
in-due course. That is, if a salesman comes to your house and 
sells something, and he violates fourteen advertising laws while 
he does it, he misleads you, and you would have cause to cancel 
the contract, if he were the contracting party. But when you get 
the contract, or shortly afterward, he s moved out of the picture. 
He s sold your signature to somebody else, usually a finance 
company in town. And the finance company has the legal right to 
collect on the contract, everything you ve signed for. 

And when you say, "But the salesman told me blah blah blah 
blah." The finance company says, "It s no concern of mine, I just 
bought the paper. I didn t tell him to sell you that. I m blameless, 
I just bought the paper and the law says you owe it to me." 

Well, we eventually got legislation that alters that and makes 
the person who buys the paper responsible for the promises of the 
person who did the selling. 

In all of these cases I ll give you one more we built the 
responsibility where it ought to hinge legally. You stamp out a 
lot of irresponsible acts when you fix responsibility. 

The other thing we did which I was very pleased about with 
credit dealings was: the law at the time was that if you buy 
something on installment and you default on the payment 
[Recapitulation to continue discussion from end of tape 2.] ## It 
used to be that the seller could repossess the property and still 
collect every dollar on the installment contract. We got that 
changed so that the seller has to make a choice. It s his choice, 
but he has to choose either to repossess the property or to collect 
on the contract. He can t do both. 



36 



Shearer: So that tended to encourage the sellers to investigate whether 
the person was able to afford 

Nelson: Yes. That stopped a lot of really atrocious selling practices 

in LA and other parts of the state. High-pressure sales people 
would push onto a young person, for example, a four- or five- 
hundred-dollar sewing machine, and then when the [purchaser] couldn t 
make each payment the sellers take the sewing machine back and still 
clollect the four or five hundred dollars plus 18 percent interest. 
Now because the sellers are going to have to make a choice, they 
take the necessary care and responsibility to check whether the 
person they re selling it to is credit worthy. 

This is particularly helpful in sales items like wall-to- 
wall carpet or upholstered furniture, which very soon after selling 
become almost worthless to the seller as a product. So he can t 
anymore come and rip up the carpet and still collect the full 
amount on the installment. He s got to make a choice. 

Shearer: How long did it take you to effect this legislation? 

Nelson: Oh, I don t know. Probably four years or more. We were able to 
get that one through the legislature because we began working with 
some of the judges who were forced to give these judgments to 
sellers against the consumer. And they became just nauseated 
with the practice that was so common. And some of them would 
tell us when I was down in Los Angeles and some of them wrote to 
us. They said, "This is something that is terrible; it ought to 
be corrected." So we were able to get them to come and testify. 

Shearer: Whose committee did you testify before? 

* 
Nelson: That would be the Judiciary Committee. John Knox was chairman of 

that committee for a long time. Another person who was very good 
and went on to Congress is Jerry Waldie. 

Shearer: In what capacity did you work with John Nejedly? 

Nelson: When he was district attorney. I think he came into Sacramento 
the election that I went out. 

Shearer: So this could be considered a real success story, the legislation 
on installment buying? 

Nelson: Yes. It did an awful lot of good not only for fair marketing, it 
does good for the consumer yet, because it prevents them from 
being so abysmally exploited. But it also does good for the 
responsible businessman. It destroys or curtails the reprehensible 
selling practice that a leading department store wouldn t do, but 
which siphons off business to the irresponsible seller. So it 
helps our economy as well as the consumer. Because the responsible 
merchant doesn t have to compete against such irresponsible 
behavior. 



* John Knox was for several years chairman of the Assembly 
Committee on Municipal and County Government. 



37 



Shearer: It s hard to imagine how the industry or business representatives 
would have been able to oppose such legislation without putting 
themselves clearly in the camp with the fly-by-nights. 

Nelson: Well, they did oppose it, but the honorable ones didn t. And 
judges are very impressive people to the legislature. And the 
judges came up [to testify against the unfair installment 
practices] and said, "Gee, you ought to stop this. You ought 
to correct this. This is really bad." And they [legislators] 
couldn t see any identifiable, important statewide group that they 
were going to offend. So it was good to do. 

But that comes after all kinds of press stories and examples 
of what has been happening. 



Raising the Public Consciousness 



Shearer: Did you find that as the years went on you had less difficulty 

presenting your case in the press, that you raised the consciousness 
of reporters about this? 

Nelson: Yes. The press was marvelous and I worked well with them. I 
never called them for a press conference when I didn t have 
something to say. I was always straightforward and aboveboard 
with them and they came to admire me and to recognize that I was 
not playing games with them as some people do. 

The things that we had were good for their news. During my 
time in Sacramento, they increased the news hour at night to an hour, 
Now I guess it s an hour and a half. It takes a lot of material 
to fill up an hour. So I would go to Los Angeles and be on the 
evening news on all four stations. 

Shearer: What a powerful outreach. 

Nelson: Yes, it was very powerful. Very powerful. And I did all kinds 
of thirty-minute interviews with people. Like John Hart, who s 
now in Washington with ABC. I did all kinds of interviews with 
him. Last night he was interviewing Ralph Storey on Catalina 
Island, and I used to do all kinds of things in LA with both of 
them. And Spencer Michaels who s now on channel 10. They were 
great. 

And I think probably the most important thing I did was 
teach the people in California that they re consumers and what it 
means to be a consumer. And that they ve got some consumer rights 
and should have more. It was a tremendous consciousness building 
job that I did. 



38 



Shearer: 
Nelson: 



Shearer: 
Nelson: 



Shearer: 



Nelson: 



Shearer: 

Nelson: 
Shearer: 



Do you think that s more important than any one particular victory? 

Yes. Yes. People got a sense of their importance as consumers. 
Before that, they were led by advertisers to put themselves down. 
For example at an AAUW meeting I was talking about how you can t 
figure out how much food costs with so many absurd package sizes 
in supermarkets. After the meeting a member said to me, "I m 
so glad you said that; oh, I just thought I was dumb. I thought 
everybody else could do it!" [laughter] 

Well, that was the attitude. So when they knew that they weren t 
personally at fault, they were victims, it really catalyzed their 
energy to stand up for themselves. 



How do you think the consumer stands today? 
vis-a-vis the big economic forces? 



What s his position 



The important thing is that there s hardly a person who doesn t 
know he s a consumer and what that means and that they can be 
victimized or they can be effective in their own interests . I 
think people understand that much. And that s a lot. It s a great 
base for moving forward. 

How would you tap that? For example, I m thinking of the biggest 
of the big: The petroleum industry or the food giants, like 
Beatrice Foods. 

It s very difficult. But labor has done it. Labor negotiates 
with big oil. I can t go any further than to say that the people 
have to organize around their consumer interests. 

Now, that s happening in many ways. The Gray Panthers are 
essentially a consumer organization. They re nothing but 
consumers; they re not wage earners. We re getting a higher 
proportion of our population that are not in the labor force but 
are in the consumer force. A great many of these people are on 
welfare, or on pensions, where their incomes are small, but where 
they ve got an awful lot of time to work on it. And the senior 
citizens now are the most effective consumer organization. 

Several important consumer organizations and, I gather from what 
I ve read, the consumer movement itself really got its start from 
California, during your terms in office. 

Yes, that s right. 

Was it the Association of California Consumers that grew out of 
your term? 



39 



Nelson: 



Shearer: 



Nelson: 



Shearer: 
Nelson: 

Shearer: 
Nelson: 



Well, yes. Practically. That s not quite true. It grew out of 
the conference of labor and consumers that was held at Asilomar 
in 1958. They set up a steering committee at Asilomar that 
developed in the next year into the Association of California 
Consumers. I don t think it would have developed if the office 
hadn t been created. The first meeting was held at Fresno. I went 
down and spoke to them. 

But it was coincident. I can t say that I was responsible. 
I certainly did a lot to keep it alive. It s changed its name now 
to California Federation of Consumers. 

The list of organizations dealing with consumer issues which is 
attached to your vita is staggering. Were those all developed 
since 1960? 

Well, Consumers Union is much older. Consumers Union (of the U.S.) 
is forty or more years old. I was on the board of directors for 
fifteen years. I went on the board while I was on the job in 
Sacramento. But the other things, like the Consumer Federation of 
America, which is now ten years old, was created apparently in 
1969. No, that s impossible. I guess it was 1968. 



Then there s the National Consumers Law Center. 

Yes. That was created probably in the late sixties, 
created during Johnson s administration. 



It was 



There are several Wisconsin organizations, too. The Coordinating 
Council for Consumer Affairs, the Wisconsin Health Policy Council, 
which I gather has a decided consumer slant. 

There are only about two that antedate the period that I was in 
Sacramento and that s the Consumers Union and the National 
Consumers League. The National Consumers League is seventy years 
old or something like that. 



Truth in Labeling and Packaging 



Shearer: [looking at vita] There was something else I wanted to talk about- 
truth in labeling. 

Nelson: Yes, I wanted to talk about the labeling and the packaging and the 
weights. When I was sworn in as consumer counsel, Mildred Brady, 
who was from Consumers Union, was in the state and she came to my 
swearing in. I talked to her immediately afterwards. She had 
been in the consumer movement and I was just moving into it. So I 



40 



Nelson: asked her for her advice. She told me, "Get acquainted with the 
weights and measures men [they were all men at that time] and 
stay close to them. This is pretty central to the consumer 
interest." 

I followed that advice, and I was fortunate that I did because 
it came about just about the time the packaging industry was making 
an assault upon the ancient and honorable principles of full 
weight and honest measure. [laughter] 



Nelson: I haven t mentioned this before, but we made a lot of appearances 

before administrative agencies: departments that were administering 
laws and interpreting them and enacting new regulations , such as 
the Insurance Commission, the Department of Agriculture, Commission 
on Business and Professional Standards, and so on. One of the 
early appearances that I made was at a hearing in the Department 
of Agriculture on a proposal to amend the regulations instructing 
the sealers how it could be proven legally whether a package was 
short-weight or not. And to set up a specific ounce or fraction 
of an ounce tolerance shortage that was permissible in every 
package. I went to the hearing and one of the items was green 
peas half an ounce was the proposed shortage. So I went with a 
saucer that contained half an ounce of peas just to demonstrate how 
many peas you wouldn t get. [laughter] 

The press took pictures, of course. And it was something 
that anybody could identify with. And you d be insulted if you 
think you re not going to get what the package says you re going to 
get. 

We were always into that fray, and we kept some of the worst 
things from happening. But some bad things have happened. 

Shearer: What bad things have happened? 

Nelson: Well, they have adopted tolerances for packages. But you have no 
way as an individual of finding out whether you re buying a legal 
package or not. So you have no basis for complaining. 

The whole law enforcement thing has moved away from the 
purchaser into the back room and there s a jockeying between the 
weights and measures man and the store and the packager. Which is, 
in my view, very sad. 

We also did testimony on the importance of unit pricing or 
giving the consumer an easy way to compare prices of similar 
products [in packages of various sizes]. For that, well, we talked 
at the state level too but we got an opportunity to testify before 



41 



Nelson: the Senate, before Senator Hart s committee, on national legislation. 
Before I went [before the committee] we did a test where we used 
five college women to go to a supermarket (unidentified) and buy 
a list, which was given to them, of seventeen different common 
products (like rice and peanut butter and things like that) and 
actually make the purchases and bring the purchases to us so that 
we could evaluate their success in choosing the most economical 
product. We kept a record of the time they went in and the time 
they came out. 

Well, the outcome of it was that we found that they spent an 
inordinate amount of time trying, far more than a consumer would 
give that project. And they failed as often as they succeeded in 
making a successful price comparison. There were all kinds of 
fractions and too many packages for that purpose. Even if your 
mind can do all the calculations to figure out the price per pound 
on one package, it can t retain all the calculations while you do 
another and another. If you ve got seventeen choices of something, 
you can t retain that much information in order to compare it. 

We squelched a whole lot of canards about consumers who have 
computers in their heads, which was our purpose at the time. I 
think we were very influential in bringing about the passage of 
truth in packaging legislation at the federal level. Though 
unfortunately it s very weak and needs to be reinforced a great 
deal. 

Shearer: Isn t there still the exception that something manufactured and 
sold in California need not be 

Nelson: Yes. Sure. You have your own law in California. 

Shearer: That s why we still have random weights for cheese produced and 

sold in California. Do you foresee any refinement in the labeling 
regulations so that you can get an actual percentage of the 
various ingredients? For example, you want to restrict sweets in 
your diet and you pick up a loaf of bread and you see that corn 
syrup is the fourth ingredient listed. But also listed is 
molasses. And then dextrose, and then raisin syrup. It would be 
interesting to know what the total percentage of sugar is. 

Nelson: Well, that s going to take an intensive campaign at the national 
level, the Food and Drug Administration level. And that pressure 
is mounting. One of the hopeful things is that there is now an 
informed, educated cadre of people who are professionals in the 
nutrition field and who are trying to make the marketplace service 
people so that they can buy nutritious food. And I think they re 
making headway, very slowly. And it s very sad that we got the HEW 
now and FDA without a head [referring to recent resignations of 
HEW s Joseph Califano and FDA s Donald Kennedy]. 



42 



Nelson: I just heard an interesting thing that Co-op of Berkeley is going 
to do. They re going to identify their cereals with three 
different colors: red for heavily sugared, yellow for questionable 
sugar, and green, as a go signal, for low sugar or no sugar. So 
that s going to help. Their nutritionists can figure all the 
molasses and sugar together. 

Shearer: Good idea. Perhaps, they could also give the consumer an idea of 
what proportion actually is the red signal how much is too much. 



Relationship with the Office of the Attorney General 



Shearer: You wanted to mention at some point your relationship with the 
attorney general s office. 

Nelson: Yes. The relationships of the Consumer Counsel Office with 

Attorney General Stanley Mosk s office were most cordial, most 
cooperative. That was one of the tremendously happy aspects of 
my days in the Consumer Counsel Office. 

We had no law enforcement authority, we had no subpoena power, 
so we could not get data. It had been proposed initially that we 
have subpoena power, but that was one of the things the governor 
had to concede to get the office at all. 

On my first visit to Stanley Mosk, I brought up the matter of 
subpoena power. And he very quietly said, "Use ours." 

Shearer: How did you go about doing that? 

Nelson: We didn t do it often, we seldom did it. But it was a most welcome 
response, that he was standing there with his authority to work 
with. And they did. 

He created a consumer fraud division and put Howard Jewel 
in charge of it. Howard worked with the field man in the Consumer 
Counsel Office on the TV repair fraud. That was a situation where 
the attorney general had legal power and we didn t at all. We 
worked together on that and developed evidence of the tremendous 
extent of fraud in TV repair. 

We worked with the attorney general s staff on land fraud 
people who were selling by mail or people who sold desert land in 
California. We were able by working together to put a damper on 
that for a while and ultimately to support the real estate 
commissioner and the insurance commissioner in making very strong 
regulations about the requirements they have to meet. 



43 



Nelson: It 1 s a wonderful thing when you work with the attorney general like 
that, you develop the hard evidence of abuse. 

Shearer: Because that s what he needs. 

Nelson: Yes. And that can be used to indicate the need for protecting 
consumers from that abuse. 

Shearer: How was that very generous and helpful response of the attorney 
general viewed by the other members of the governor s circle? 

Nelson: I think they were very happy about it, too. The first year I was 
there and had only the secretary, I repeatedly sent over to the 
attorney general a bill and said, "Can you analyze this; what do 
you think about it." I couldn t analyze them all individually 
myself and for many of them I didn t have the background and the 
legal resources to look them up. I didn t have a set of law books, 
you know. I couldn t see what the bill was amending. And they 
were just superb. They answered thoroughly. There are many ways 
to answer a memo, you know. They were careful, and they gave me 
good information. They really acted as though they were on staff, 
when I d ask them, they d come in and testify. 

II 

Nelson: The attorney general s person would come with me as an expert 

witness to testify on cases he had examined or investigated. That 
greatly strengthened our hand with the legislature the first year 
and built some respect for the office, [laughing] 

Shearer: Did you continue to have that good working relationship? 

Nelson: Yes, we always had a wonderful relationship with Stanley Mosk and 
all his people. He was just marvelous. 

I remember that at the end of the legislative session I was 
going to Washington to testify on something and on my way from 
Sacramento to Washington I wrote a letter of thanks to Stanley. 
And I mentioned which staff and what they d done. They seemed to 
think that was compensation enough. Stanley s got a tremendous 
sense of public service and he instills it in everyone around him. 



The Consumer Bill of Rights 



Shearer: We talked a little bit about the impact of the Office of Consumer 
Counsel on the development of consumer organizations and on the 
consciousness of the citizens in the state. I think George Brunn 



44 



Nelson: also mentioned that there was really national impact, as well, 

with the idea of the consumer bill of rights, which you and he kind 
of cooked up one day. Didn t this end up in Kennedy s campaign 
platform? 

Nelson: That s right. I don t remember George in connection to that, but 
he might have been. I got the feeling after being in office 
for not a long time because Fred [Dutton] was still the executive 
officer I got the feeling that we were just charging from one 
thing to another. And that there had to be some kind of guiding 
principles that we could structure our work under, and structure 
our program, and structure thinking about the consumer interest. I 
had worked one session in the legislature. I tried to classify 
all these causes , how they would go and how you would say them in 
consumer words. 

Anyway, George and I talked. I had worked very closely with 
George and had consulted him about lots of things. He s a 
brilliant guy. I drafted those four consumer rights in a memo to 
the governor, and suggested that particularly he, too, had had a 
hard time. He had made good on his promise to create the office, 
and he needed some sort of handle to say it simply and forcefully. 
And I thought this might help him. So I sent it to him. 

The response I got back, not directly, but relayed orally, was 
that he thought it was very good, but he didn t feel that he could 
handle it. It would be better if I used it or something. He just 
didn t feel comfortable with it. And I could see that. He had 
too much to do with the water thing, the education thing. So it 
languished as far as the office was concerned. 

And then Kennedy got elected in 60. And Fred was with him 
and Fred became his secretary of the cabinet. Kennedy had made a 
commitment about two days before the election to do something about 
the consumer. Fred was supposed to figure out how. And so Fred 
not too long after began to gather material which he could use to 
shape up the Kennedy consumer program. 

When Fred asked I sent him a pile of materials and included 
that. Anyway, Kennedy was new and fresh and making good on his 
commitment, he sent Congress a consumer message the first ever. 
It enunciated the four consumer rights I had written. I was very 
pleased. 

Shearer: Do you think the work s been carried on? 

Nelson: I don t think it s being carried on as well as it should be. I 
think there s a lot of good things happening. But it s always 
an uneven struggle. 



45 



The Challenge to Women in State Government 



Shearer: 
Nelson: 
Shearer: 
Nelson: 

Shearer: 
Nelson: 



Shearer: 



Nelson: 



Shearer: 
Nelson: 



Shearer: 
Nelson: 



Was your being a woman a hindrance? 

No, no. 

In spite of the fact that you had to use the ladies room? 

Well, I don t know, it was probably a help [to be a woman], in 
that the legislators had to be kind of publicly polite. 

You mean in self-defense of their images as gentlemen? 

Yes. They were more restrained in abusing a woman witness than a 
man witness. That was a benefit. I think that a lot of the 
citizenry identified with me because I was the same as all the 
other women. 

The handicap to it is that you can t go to the men s room, for 
one thing. You can t be one of the boys, and that was a real 
handicap. Many of the legislators criticized me very much for 
being stand-offish. Where was I, hiding over here in the corner? 
I was never there. I didn t play poker or make the bar. I didn t 
at all. 



You were living in Sacramento then, 
parties with lobbyists. 



You could have gone to cocktail 



I would go to lunch with lobbyists. But the legislators develop 
social groups and that s also the way a lot of public things start 
among administrative people, when they get together. I never did 
them, and I was criticized for it. 

But you were invited? 

Well, you re not really invited to those things. You re just there 
when they begin. You know, you re in the bar at the Senator Hotel 
at the cocktail hour, and they invite you to join in a game of 
poker later. 

How could you resist! 

And I was told again and again by all kinds of people that that 
was hurting me. I just had to let it hurt me, because I couldn t 
do it. First of all, I was putting out an enormous amount of 
energy in all other ways, and I didn t want to spend my energy in 
that way. And I m not comfortable with that sort of thing. 



46 



Shearer: Did you do political entertaining at all? 

Nelson: No, I couldn t. I just couldn t. I was spending so much energy 
running around giving speeches and doing TV things and developing 
solutions. And I had a home with my husband. 

Shearer: Did you have a housekeeper or someone to help you? 

Nelson: Yes. That was a great thing. She was there every day, Monday to 
Friday. She did all kinds of things vacuuming, the laundry... 

We had people stay at our home, from the Co-op for example. 
Some of the people who came up from Berkeley to testify, we would 
get together with other supporters. I did that kind of thing. 

We had one episode early in the administration. The governor 
had a monthly governor s council. This was a public meeting in 
the governor s chambers. The press would all come. When it was 
over, all the members of the governor s council and I was a 
member would convene at the Sutter Club for lunch. (And women 
were not allowed at the Sutter Club.) And the governor just forgot 
about that. I thought maybe they had made arrangements with the 
Sutter Club, for myself and that they would let me in. But I was 
really kind of hurt when after walking over alone I was coldly 
denied admittance by the majordomo. The governor s council had to 
move its lunches to a hotel thereafter, which didn t do me any good 
with all the male members who greatly preferred the club. 

Shearer: Can you now go to the Sutter Club? 

Nelson: I think now you can. I m not sure, but I would expect so. 



Managing Marriage and Career 



Shearer: It must have been a challenge to manage two high-powered careers 
in your marriage. How did you manage to pull that off? 

Nelson: Yes, it was. We, among a lot of other things, we lived close in, 
between the airport and the Capitol. [laughing] And Nathan was 
very, very good to me. He was traveling the state and during that 
last couple of years, he was writing a book. It was kind of rough. 
But we tried very hard to make things work. We had a lot of 
lunches together; that was another thing. About once a week we 
lunched with a couple of his friends and laughed a lot together. They 
were very witty. 



47 



Shearer: Not many married couples have lunch together. 

Nelson: Yes, I guess that s right. We tried to have one day of the weekend 
for each other and we took quiet vacations, mostly out of state. 

[tape fadeout; tape stopped and restarted] 
Shearer: What happened after Brown s defeat in 1966? 

Nelson: By that time, Elizabeth (Smith Gatov) was Democratic committee- 
woman for northern California, I believe. She had sponsored my 
application, or she had taken my application to Governor Brown. 
After our defeat in 66, I thought it was important to stay in the 
office from early November until January to keep the office visible, 
because Reagan had campaigned against it. If I vacated it, as 
most appointees were doing after we lost the election, it would be 
so much easier for him to quietly never appoint anybody and let 
it drop from sight. So I consulted Lib by about this, and she said 
that if I felt that I could stand it, of course it would be a 
good thing! [laughing] So I stayed in the office, and I had a 
staff by that time, you know. It was a sorry period. But I kept 
talking through the press, I kept making myself seen and heard so 
that the people could not lose sight of the office. When I left, 
he d have to send me. And he did, on New Year s Eve. [laughing] 

Shearer: New Year s Eve. 

Nelson: New Year s Eve. He took the oath of office at one minute past 

midnight. And he sent a couple of men in with a letter that they 
dropped in front of me like this [gestures, laughing], at about 
five o clock on that day. 

There was security on the Capitol at that time because of the 
preparations for the inaugural show. I was moving my personal stuff 
out of the office, and we kept going back and forth in the corridor. 
They were moving in while I was moving out. 

Shearer: And what were they moving in? 

Nelson: Oh, all kinds of things. Their records and files, and the governor s 
personal stuff. You always have a lot of that stuff. I had a potted 
plant. 

Shearer: So Reagan presented you with a letter asking for your immediate 
resignation. 

Nelson: Yes. Immediate resignation. His press people probably expected 

that on New Year s Eve my dismissal couldn t get any attention. But 
it certainly did. We saw that it did. [Staying] had met my objective. 
The vacant office was sufficiently in the public eye that he didn t 
dare close it down. 



48 



Shearer: 
Nelson: 



Shearer: 
Nelson: 



Shearer: 



Nelson: 



What was his solution? 

Oh, he appointed the Republican chairwoman of Contra Costa County* 
who was qualified by having six children and a husband. She 
commuted from Contra Costa County. It was a boondoggle. I didn t 
mean to say that, but 

She got rather interested in the job after a while. You 
couldn t stay around it without getting some sense of the atrocities 
that were going on. 

Did she have your staff? 

Very briefly. They were fired within a few weeks. The state 
provides training, and then they fire you. Nobody was left but the 
secretary. She started over with just the two of them. But he 
never closed the office. We at least made that point. 



It s important to have that door open, 
effective in. 



You can always get somebody 



Yes. And she began to get a feel for doing something after a while. 
She said all the things about "Business is a consumer s best friend" 
to start out with. She didn t start out with a very aggressive 
program. She was going to educate the consumers, primarily, and 
help business. A very colonial attitude, [laughing] But she got 
some sense of the consumer eventually. 

Shearer: Thank you very much. 



* Mrs. Kay Valory 



Transcriber: 
Final Typist: 



Matthew Schneider 
Keiko Sugimoto 



49 



TAPE GUIDE - Helen Nelson 



Date of Interview: July 21, 1979 

tape 1, side A 1 

tape 1, side B 9 

tape 2, side A 18 

tape 2, side B 26 

tape 3, side A 35 

tape 3, side B 43 



APPENDIX 



50 



The Credit Union Magazine, December, 1963 




A NEW CHALLENGE TO CREDIT UNIONS 



By Mrs. Helen Nelson, Consumer Counsel to the Governor of California 



TTTHEN MR. FILZNE urged the ere- 
* ation of member-owned credit 
organizations to lend money to their 
own people, he did so because for 
most working people it was difficult, 
almost impossible, to obtain credit. 
Today the situation is quite differ 
ent. 

Credit unions have grown and 
prospered in an era of competition 
from many types of credit extenders. 
In California, for instance, we have 
banks, finance companies (which we 
call personal property brokers), in 
dustrial loan companies (which in 
many states are known as small loan 
companies) and the various retail 
extenders of credit retail stores, 
auto dealers and auto sales finance 
companies. Others are seeking to 
enter the field of consumer credit: 
our state legislature has before it at 
the present time demands from the 
savings and loan associations and the 
insurance industry that they be per 
mitted to enter the lucrative field of 
consumer loans. 

Today we have a situation of "too 
much of a good thing". Nowadays 
the consumer who wishes to buy on 



credit is the one who gets the warm 
handshake; it is the cash customer 
who gets the cold shoulder. We are 
concerned now not with extending 
the use of credit, but with problems 
of over-extension of credit and the 
abuse of credit. 

The abuse of credit by those 
who extend it and those who use it 
can be measured by a new 
phenomenon on the American eco 
nomic scene, the climbing rate of 
consumer bankruptcies. In 1946, die 
year following the end of World 
War II, die total number of bank 
ruptcies for the nation was a little 
over 10,000. Four years later, by 
1950, the number of bankruptcies 
had risen to 33,392 it had tripled 
in just four years and 75 per cent 
of the bankrupts were wage earners. 
Ten years later, in the fiscal year 
ending June 1960, the number of 
bankruptcies had again tripled, 
reaching 110,000 88 out of every 
100 were family bankruptcies. Last 
year, the number of bankruptcies 
reached 147,780. And nine out of 
ten were families. 

One would think that disturbing 



evidence of this order with its eco 
nomic and social implications would 
have set alarm bells ringing across 
the country. A fourteen-fold increase 
in bankruptcy in 16 years is, one 
would think, a symptom demanding 
national attention and study. During 
this same period die growdi of 
juvenile delinquency and the in 
crease in bank robberies made head 
lines and spurred die formation of 
national study commissions and con 
ferences of government officials. 

But no such attention has been 
focused on the problem of consumer 
bankruptcies. There exists today 
only fragments of documented or 
researched information on die causes 
and effects of consumer bankruptcy. 
The only tangible nationwide re 
sult has been the birth and growdi 
of a new industry, die debt proraters 
who are helping debt-ridden fam 
ilies stay out of die bankruptcy 
courts, but at the cost of incurring 
yet one more debt, the prorater s 
fee which, in California, can law 
fully amount to 12 per cent of the 
total of die debts prorated. 

Although a body of reliable lit- 



OOTHING & HOUSEHOLD 




erature on the causes of bankruptcy 
still needs to be developed there 
are indications that credit misused 
and credit abused are sources of the 
problem. A California referee in 
bankruptcy, William A. Mc- 
Gugan, listed four reasons which he 
believes are contributing factors: 

Consumers are attempting to live 
beyond their means. 

Merchants and business concerns, 
in their desire for more sales, are 
extending "too much credit." 

Finance companies and banking 
institutions sometimes make loans 
widiout full investigation of die ap 
plicants and their assets. 

Manufacturers, setting quotas for 
their dealers, are forcing competi 
tion which leads dealers to accept 
low down payments or no down 
payments at all before delivery of 
a car or appliance. 

In the experience of my office, a 
fifth factor stands out. That is, out 
right deception on die part of die 
credit extender which die consumer 
in many instances is unable to de 
tect until it is too late. 

Examples of this kind can be 



picked from almost every state. 
Sidney Margolius, noted audiority 
on consumer matters, reported a 
typical instance in New York. A 
door-to-door salesman in New York 
conned a consumer into a trial ex 
amination of a set of stainless steel 
tableware priced at $65. She signed 
what he told her was a "receipt" for 
die goods. When she decided she 
didn t want die set and wrote die 
seller to take it back, die only an 
swer was a demand for payment. 
The "receipt" she had signed turned 
out to be an instalment contract. 
The seller got a garnishment on her 
wages. Since her employer would not 
tolerate garnishments, this consumer, 
in order to keep her job, had to pay 
die seller. She paid $75 for that set 
of stainless steel ware which another 
retailer estimated was wordi $15. 
This consumer s wages were $60 a 
week, so in effect she had worked a 
week without pay. Margolius 
commented, "If her employer had 
forced this woman to work a week 
without pay, die whole country 
would be up in arms." And he add 
ed, "Our government would not 



permit things to be done to people 
as workers that we allow to be done 
to them as consumers." 

In viewing the problems of credit 
uses and abuses, 1 see three funda 
mental needs: 

We need to define crimes against 
consumers and outlaw diem. 

This is not yet a widely-accepted 
concept. The prevailing attitude 
seems to be: "You can t detail a 
policeman to follow each person 
around while he spends his money. 
Foolish people are dieir own worst 
enemy. And anyway, if a person gets 
taken in a private transaction, he 
has his civil remedies. Let him sue." 

My reply is: Such reactions are 
out of date. They belong back in die 
days of Robin Hood. In those times 
in merry olde England it was under 
stood dial if you traveled through 
die forest carrying money you could 
expect to come upon robbers. You 
were expected to look out for your 
self: either not travel alone or hire 
a guard. When a traveler was 
robbed, no doubt many people 
shrugged off any responsibility with 
die comment, "How can you protect 






52 



"You can put a hook in almost any proposition" 



this fool from himself? If he travels 
with money, what can. we do?" 

But eventually enough people 
came to see that commerce and in 
dustry could not develop unless mon 
ey, the instrument of commerce, 
could be freely and safely ex 
changed. We hired people to en 
force laws against robbery. No doubt 
enforcement was spotty at first but 
eventually developed to the point 
where we all now expect police pro 
tection from robbery. 

When the American West was 
opened, we went through a similar 
development. Again there was no 
organized law enforcement and the 
individual had to protect himself 
usually by strapping on a six-shooter 
and practicing the fast draw. Wells 
Fargo hired its own guards to ride 
the stages that carried the gold en 
trusted to its keeping. 

But this didn t last very long 
either. We began by calling in U.S. 
marshals, then by giving the mar 
shals staffs of deputies. Today our 
law enforcement against bank rob 
bery is formalized and extensive. We 
have codes of laws defining crime 
and its punishment. We need to 
modernize these to take account of 
"white collar crimes" that are being 
committed against consumers. 

Referral selling. One such crime 
goes under the euphemistic title of 
"referral selling". It is not selling. 
It is a bunco racket. Law enforce 
ment officers call it the "money 
pitch." Briefly, it is the tactic where 
by the consumer is induced to sign 
an instalment contract on the pre 
text that he will earn money by re 
ferring to the. seller the names of 
prospective customers. The consum 
er is lead to believe that he is sign 
ing not a contract for goods but a 
contract to earn money by means of 
a so-called selling plan. This is 
what makes it deceptive and fraudu 
lent. 

District attorneys in California 
and attorney-generals of many states 
are outspoken against this vicious 
practice. Two years ago we went be 
fore our state legislature, seeking 
to outlaw the practice. 



Other states have "tried to stamp 
out this ugly fraud, Ohio, Minne 
sota, Oklahoma, and Colorado 
among them. Until it is legally de 
fined as what it is a fraud and de 
ception and outlawed, consumers 
will continue to be shanghaied into 
unplanned debts of several hundred 
or several thousand dollars. 

Health and dance studio rackets.. 
Another consumer bunco masquer 
ading under the guise of legitimate 
business is the healdi and dance 
studio racket. There are many 
health and dance studio operators 
who render services in a fair and le 
gitimate manner, giving consumers 
value for their money. Ethical oper 
ators of these legitimate businesses 
suffer also, along with consumers, 
from the effects of the unscrupulous 
operators. 

Those who are content to have 
these bunco artists in our midst tell 
us constantly that legislation can 
not be enacted to protect the gullible 
from their gullibility. We say there 
is a distinct difference between legit 
imate selling and outright deception 
and this distinction must be drawn 
and enforced. 

A professor of marketing at the 
University of Southern California, 
Dr. Charles M. Whitlow, has said: 
"Selling may be based on appeals 
to rationality or it may be over 
whelmingly emotional. This is 
where the problem arises. The cus 
tomer may be swayed by emotional 
factors, skillfully manipulated by the 
salesperson. You see perfectly nor 
mal and rational people, not simply 
the highly emotional persons, fall 
for this. ... It is possible to put 
a hook into almost any proposi 
tion." . 

For example, senior citizens are 
particularly apt to be victimized by 
dance studio buncos. One infamous 
example came to light not long ago 
when it was revealed that a dance 
studio had conned an 80-year-old 
woman into signing a contract for 
several thousand dollars worth of 
dance lessons. 

In areas of legitimate commerce, 
we must define the consumer s fair 



legal rights. 

Too often, the legally-established 
relationship between die consumer s 
rights and the seller s rights is gross 
ly unfair to the consumer. It is pos 
sible today for a consumer bunco 
artist or organization without any 
established place of business to roam 
the cities and suburbs, conning con 
sumers into signing conditional sales 
contracts for hundreds or even thou 
sands of dollars and then, without 
any accountability for keeping his 
part of the bargain, to sell the con 
tract and disappear. Even where the 
seller is guilty of gross abuse, he 
may assign the contract to a finance 
company and die buyer may have to 
pay every instalment even though 
the finance company knows of the 
abuse. The law s countenancing of 
such practices is an open invitation 
to white-collar crime. Easy salability 
of "paper" and the legal right of 
the bank or finance company to 
exact full payment from the victim 
ized consumer creates limitless op 
portunity for the white-collar crook 
to prey upon consumers. 

Every time one of us signs on the 
dotted line for credit, we enter into 
a contract. Our rights and obliga 
tions and the other person s rights 
and obligations are determined by 
the terms of that contract and also 
by how that contract is viewed by 
the laws of the state where it is 
signed. 

Credit unions, dedicated to ad 
vancing their members well-being, 
must begin to participate in making 
these laws. 

Charge accounts. The everyday 
credit purchase is not without its 
pitfalls for consumers. Consider re 
volving charge accounts. On every 
day purchases charged on these ac 
counts California law permits re 
tailers to charge \Yz per cent a 
month service charge, or 1 8 per cent 
per year. Few consumers are aware 
that this "small service charge" is 
half again as much as a credit union 
could charge them for a loan. 

Disguising the true cost of this 
credit charge constitutes an abuse 
in my book. But far more serious is 



The price of credit is as 53 
important as the price of goods 

the abuse arising from the deliber- covered that verv few knew he 



the abuse arising from the deliber 
ate misinterpretation of the term 
"outstanding balance" against which 
the credit charge is levied. California 
law as it is presently worded permits 
the 18 per cent per annum rate to 
be imposed on a balance outstand 
ing for 15 days, 10 days or even 
less. And there are plenty of in 
stances where this imposition has 
been made. 

Auto buying. The consumer s 
rights when he buys a car are fewer 
and weaker than when he makes 
other credit purchases at least in 
California. Our laws on repossession 
and deficiency judgments have 
been particularly onerous. 

Credit charges on auto purchases 
are a major source of confusion for 
consumers. Rare is the auto buyer 
who has any dear idea of the rate 
of the charges he is paying on his 
auto contract. When researchers at 
the University of California made a 
study of auto credit buyers, they dis 



covered that very few knew how 
much they were paying in terms of 
simple annual interest. Of 105 fam 
ilies in the San Francisco Bay Area, 
about a third thought they knew 
and the majority of them thought 
they were paying 5 or 6 per cent. 
Actually, most of them were paying 
between 12 and 33 per cent. 

Home buying. Consumers, at least 
in California, spend more money 
on automobiles and their financing 
than on any other item they buy, 
but the largest single debt commit 
ment they make is for a home pur 
chase. Few consumers understand 
the size of the debt they are under 
taking when they sign the papers to 
buy a home. Few of them are 
trained to navigate the rocky shoals 
that will mark the course of their 
home purchase transaction. Con 
sumers shopping for homes in the 
$15,000 bracket do not realize that 
by the time they pay off their home 
loan they will have paid close to 
$30,000. If you were to tell them 
at the outset that they are buying a 
$30,000 home, they would cry 
"that s way out of our class." 

The full facts about mortgage 
rates, charges and fees are not made 
available to consumers in terms they 
understand and can use for compar 
ing credit charges. It is almost im 
possible for the typical young couple 
to shop rationally and wisely for 
credit in purchasing a home. And 
yet this absence of information may 
have a lifetime effect on their chil 
dren. Consider that in the purchase 
of a $15,000 home, the difference be 
tween financing that purchase at 
6 per cent versus 7 per cent a 
difference of only one percentage 
point may, over the life of the 
loan, be $3,500, or almost enough to 
send $100 a month to a child in 
college during a four-year course. 
In other words, a difference of just 
one percentage point in a home loan 
may make the difference between a 
child s getting a college education 
and not getting one. 

True cost of credit. Of all credit 
abuses rampant across the country, 
gravest in its effect upon all con 
sumer, is this deliberate withhold 



ing of the most important informa 
tion consumers need to know the 
price of credit. The battle to securt 
a "truth in lending" law has been 
fought in Washington, D. C. for 
three years. Here in California three 
separate bills were introduced in tht 
Assembly and Senate to require fi 
nance charges to be expressed in 
comparable rates that is, in tern* 
of simple annual interest. All three 
bills went down to defeat. 

The fierceness of the continuing 
battle nationally and on the statt 
level to prevent this law from com 
ing into existence is the most con 
vincing proof that this is the fortressi 
of credit abuse. No other piece ol 
credit legislation has been fought 
against so hard by so many retail 
ers and financial institutions. 

If credit unions were to select one 
target, one goal to achieve on behalf 
of their members and all consumers, 
they could render no greater service 
than to marshal their forces to win 
legislation that would enable con 
sumers to know the price of credit 

Consumers have as much need and 
right to know the price of credit as 
to know the price of goods. Almost 
all the goods we buy today, with 
the possible exception of food and 
drugs, is purchased on credit. A 
price of credit or truth in lending 
law is, therefore, basic in our lives 
today. We might just as well go out 
hunting a job without a right to 
ask the salary or wage rate as to go 
out shopping for credit without be 
ing able to learn the rate. 

I want to salute die California 
Credit Union League for recogniz 
ing this basic need. California con 
sumers acknowledge with great grati 
tude the League s staunch support of 
the Administration s bill which was 
carried by Assemblyman Charles 
Warren of Los Angeles in diis cur 
rent legislative session. The League 
not only made a formal representa 
tion on behalf of this proposal to 
the Legislative committee consider 
ing the bill, but devoted hours to 
discussing with committee members 
the importance of die measure. 

I am sure diere is no need to 
explain to the knowledgeable reader 
why, in spite of the efforts by the 
League and many other statewide 
consumer organizations, the price-of- 



Consumers hungry for information 



credit proposal did not live long 
enough to get onto the floor of the 
Legislature. 

To illustrate the importance of 
knowing finance rates, our office 
made a chart showing the cost of 
credit charges to an average family 
that made four relatively common 
credit commitments on which the 
credit cost was computed at the max 
imum rates allowable under Cal 
ifornia law. This is what we found: 

If a family . . . 

Bought a refrigerator priced at $250 
on a conditional sales contract with 
18 months to pay 1 

Charged clothing and household 
goods totalling $250 on their depart 
ment store revolving account and 
paid in 12 months* 
Made an emergency loan of $300 to 
be paid back in 12 months 1 
Financed a used car priced at $1,500 
on 24 monthly payments* 

the cost of credit on these four com 
mitments would be $467 at the max 
imum lawful rates allowable in Cal 
ifornia. Credit life insurance, charges 
for late payments, etc., would bring 
the cost higher. This credit cost of 
$467 is almost a whole month s 
"spendable earnings" for a Cali 
fornia family of four with a median 
income. 5 

The transactions described would 
be considered a modest level of 
credit commitment by many fam 
ilies. Yet, any family whose use of 
credit ran along at this level would 
be committing themselves to an an 
nual expenditure of $275 just in 



Maximum lawful credit rate on retail 
instalment contracts 5/6 of 1% per 
month on purchases to $1,000. 

"Maximum lawful credit rate on revolv 
ing charge accounts l /i% per month to 
$1,000. 

Maximum lawful credit rate by per 
sonal property broker 2 /2% per month to 
$200; 2% per month $200-5500. 

Maximum lawful credit rate on instal 
ment sales of automobiles 1% per month. 

Median income for California families 
of $6,726 or $560 a month was derived 
from 1960 Census figures by the Division 
of Labor Statistics and Research, Califor 
nia Department of Industrial Relations. 
After State and Federal income and with 
holding taxes and social security deduc 
tions, a family of four has spendable in 
come of $483.45, assuming standard de 
ductions. 



credit charges alone. For a California 
family of four with a median in 
come, this figure of $275 approaches 
5 per cent (4.7 per cent) of their 
annual spendable earnings. 

If you were a family financial 
counselor, you would certainly urge 
a family to shop very carefully to 
see if they could not make die four 
purchases described at a lower rate 
of credit. But how can a family shop 
for credit intelligently when the 
credit rates if they are quoted at 
all are quoted in any manner that 
makes comparison next to imposs 
ible? 

How many members of your 
credit union are right now making 
credit commitments of the type I 
have described buying clothing 
and household goods on their re 
volving charge account and paying 
18 per cent simple annual interest, 
or buying a refrigerator on die in 
stallment plan and paying 18-plus 
per cent simple annual interest? 
How many members of your credit 
union know, if they are making 
such purchases through regular re 
tail channels, that they are paying 
these rates? 

Knowledge information is 
the most important tool we can put 
into the hands of consumers. 

The California Credit Union 
League last year launched a family 
financial counseling program to do 
just that. My office has distributed 
over 650,000 copies of a little folder 
entitled Credit Costs Money which 
tries very briefly to give consumers 
some facts about credit and the 
meaning of the various ways cred 
it terms are expressed. And it has 
been reprinted to reach many times 
that many. 

Consumers are hungry for infor 
mation, for clues to why in this land 
of prosperity where personal income 
is up to a record high, things aren t 
as rosy, as secure, as comfortable as 
the propaganda has told them it 
should be. "Easy credit" which 
should have smoothed the padi to 
their ownership of all the lovely 
items they ever diought they wanted 
has led too often to tension and 
worry. 

Consumers need to be shown 



that there is a way to secure the 
good things of life without ran 
soming their earnings for the rest 
of their working life. They are 
hungry for leaders who will sound 
a note of sanity in the pandemoni 
um of credit-buying. 

They need to be told the extent 
to which business is in government 
and government is in their lives 
making the rules that govern so 
many of the conditions of their 
buying. The California Parent 
Teacher Magazine in its January 
issue published a most provocative 
article, a reprint from the publi 
cation, The Machinist. The article, 
headed "Politics is our Business" 
tells how politics and politicians 
decide the speed you drive, the 
taxes you pay, the floor under your 
wages, die schooling of your chil 
dren, the value of your money and 
the interest you pay. 

Consumers need to know that 
credit unions exist and exist to 
serve their members economic 
well being. 

So to credit union leaders, I say: 

Don t hide your light shine it 
out. Use your unique situation and 
qualifications to promote informa 
tion and education. Let us bear in 
mind that as a society we are un 
trained in the skill of consumption 
management. Our training in our 
schools and on the job has been 
directed to perfecting the skills 
needed for earning money. We are 
only now and slowly coming to 
realize that we also need training 
to develop skills for the wise spend 
ing of money. 

Just as we have trained our 
young people to use the tools de 
veloped in this technological age 
the computers and scientific in 
struments we must begin training 
them to use the tool, credit. I have 
frequently likened credit to a pow 
er saw: in the hands of an in 
formed user it can fashion many 
enjoyable and useful things, but 
in the hands of an uninformed user 
it can lead to disaster. 

Credit unions are in a unique 
position to inform and educate 
their members and thus contribute 
greatly to increasing their economic 
well being. 

Credit unions are also uniquely 



55 



equipped to help make the rules 
of credit buying fair to both con 
sumer and seller. Too often today 
the bargaining power between con 
sumer and seller is unequal. Too 
often the consumer is in no posi 
tion to bargain at all. We must 
make sure that the rules that gov 
ern the extension of credit give the 
consumer equal status with the 
seller. If the consumer willfully 
violates the credit contract and the 
law sets forth penalties or remedies 
which the seller may obtain, then 
we must make sure that if the sell 
er wilfully violates the contract, 
the consumer has an equal amount 
of protection. 

As it is now, even when the seller 
wilfully violates the law but has 
assigned the contract to a third 
party, the consumer all too often 
must continue to pay the third 
party. This is an unfair imbalance 
of rights between consumer and 
seller, and we must seek to remedy 
it. 

These rules are made by people 
in government. You can serve your 
members by giving support to 
those men in the legislature who 



are trying to make the rules fair 
to both the credit buyer and the 
credit seller. 

We must also work together to 
update our law enforcement. We 
have a new breed of criminal to 
day the white-collar crook who 
robs his victims not with a gun, 
but with a fountain pen. The old- 
fashioned thief who stole a fam 
ily s life savings is no more repre 
hensible than the new type of crook 
who fraudulently signs a couple to 
an instalment contract and then 
sues to gain possession of the home 
when the contract terms cannot be 
met. We need to modernize our 
law enforcement so that the foun 
tain pen bandits, the bunco artists 
and the false advertisers are policed 
as actively and effectively as the 
bad check artists, the burglars and 
the bank bandits. 

Yes, what I am saying to you is: 
Get active in politics. Politics vital 
ly affects your members. 

The decades that have passed 
since credit unions came into being 
have brought profound changes. 
You can no longer justify your 
credit union because it is a source 



of consumer credit. We have 
sources of consumer credit on every 
side today. A wide variety of credit 
extenders now beseige and beguile 
the consumer to avail himself of 
credit. 

What differentiates credit un 
ions from all these other extend 
ers of credit is motive. With all the 
others the motive is profit. With 
credit unions the motive is service. 
It is inspiring to note that the as 
sets of organizations devoted to the 
ideal of service can reach and has 
reached the enviable total of $7 
billion. 

Today presents to credit unions 
a challenge to renew the motiva 
tion that gave you birth and 
brought you to your present peak 
of prosperity the motivation to 
serve your members. 

Serve your members according to 
their present needs and increase 
their economic well being. In in 
creasing the economic well-being 
of your members you will be help 
ing all consumers, and, as spokes 
man for 1714 million of them, I 
can say we will be profoundly 
grateful to you. END 







Reprinted from: THE CREDIT UNION MAGAZINE 

December, 1963 



56 



INDEX Helen Nelson 



Agricultural Adjustment Act, 4 

American Association of University Women (AAUW) , 10 

American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial 

Organziations (AF of L-CIO) , 14 
Association of California Consumers. See California 

Federation of Consumers 



Beilenson, Anthony, 26, 30 
Berkeley, California, City of 

consumer law enforcement, 33 
Better Business Bureau, 33 
Brady, Mildred, 39 

Brown, Bernice Layne (Mrs. Edmund G., Sr.), 21-22 
Brown, Edmund G., Sr. , 6-8, 12, 16-17, 21-25, 27, 30, 47 
Brunn, George, 6-7, 10-11, 43-44 
Business and Professions Code, 33 



California Assembly, Committee on Public Health, 19 

California Federation of Consumers, 38-39 

California Labor Federation, 11, 13-14 

California legislature, relations with, 25-30, 35-37 

California Newspaper Publishers Associations, 8 

California Retailers Association, 8, 26 

California Senate, Committee on Finance, 26 

California, State of 

Agriculture, Department of, 40 
Attorney General s Office, relations with, 42 
Business and Professional Standards, Commission on, 40 
Consumer Counsel, Office of, 
as lobbyist, 18-20, 22 
budget appropriation, 20-21, 28 
creation of, 5-8 

relations with governor s office, 21-24 
Industrial Relations, Department of, 12 
Industrial Welfare Commission, 7-8 
Insurance Commission, 40 

Labor Statistics and Research, Division of, 7-8 
Program Advisory Committee to the Consumer Counsel, 8, 10-11 
Radiation Protection and Atomic Energy Development, Office of, 
Rehabilitation, Department of, 12 



57 



Campbell, Persia, 6, 15-16 

Candler, Cecil, 11 

Canson, Virna, 11, 28 

Cobey, James A., 26 

consumer affairs 
legislative issues, 
child safety, 18 
cost of credit, 17, 26-28, 35-36 
deceptive labeling and packaging, 38-42 
labor support for, 6, 8 

Consumers Union, 8, 39 

Cooperative Shopping Centers of Berkeley, 11-12, 42 

Coordinating Council for Consumer Affairs, 39 



Dachtelberg, Jane, 19-20 
Dardarian, Leo, 11 
Depression, 1930s, 3-4 
Desmond, Lucille, 11 
Dutton, Frederick G. , 22-24, 44 



election campaigns, California 

1958 gubernatorial, 6, 7, 25 

1962 gubernatorial, 25 

election campaigns, financing and issues, 7-8, 25 
election campaigns, national 

1960 presidential, 44 
Ewing, Delton, 1 
Ewing, Edith, 1 
Ewing, Forrest W., 2 
Ewing, Harold D., 2 
Ewing, John G. , 2 
Ewing, Vernon R. , 2 



Farm Bureau, California, 20 

Farmers Union, 20 

Food and Drug Act, 30-31 



Gatov, Elizabeth Smith, 47 
Gibson, Luther, 26 
Goodwin, Eva, 11 
Gray Panthers, 38 
Grendon, Alexander, 9 
Gupta, Ruth, 13-14 



58 



Harriman, Averell, 6, 8 
Hart, John, 37 
Hart, Philip, 41 
Hawkins, Augustus, 29 
Henning, Jack, 14-15 



International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) , 13 



Kennedy, John Fitzgerald, 44 
Kerr, Clark, 14-15 
Knox, John, 30, 36 



labor 

coalminers , 2 

and consumer affairs, 13, 15, 25 

National Labor Relations Board, 3, 5 

negotiations, 7 

strikes, 2 

union organizing, 5 

United Mine Workers, 3, 5 
law enforcement, in consumer fraud, 32-34 
lobbying 

consumer, 8, 12, 38 

special interest, 8, 17-18, 20 

by women, 19-20 
Los Angeles 

consumer law enforcement, 32-34 

Watts riot, 28-29 
Lyon, Virginia B., 11 



Max Factor, 30 
media 

newspapers, 32, 37 
Co-op News, 11-12 
Crackdown, 33 

radio, KPFA, 37 

television, 19, 20, 32, 37 
Michaels, Spencer, 37 
Mosk, Stanley, 42-43 
Murray, Roy D. , 11 



59 



National Bituminous Coal Board, 3 

National Consumers Law Center, 39 

National Consumers League, 39 

National Recovery Administration, 3 

Nejedly, John, 36 

Nelson, Nathan, 46 

New Deal, 5 

New York State, Office of Consumer Counsel 

budget, 9 

creation of, 6-8 

Reagan, Ronald, 47-48 
Republican party, 8 
Rodda, Albert, 26, 30 
Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, 2 
Rumford, Byron, Sr., 19 

Selcer, David, 11 
Shirpser, Clara G., 11-12 
Shoemaker, Winfield, 11, 26, 30 
Sieroty, Alan, 26, 30 
Smith, Norvel L., 11 
Snyder, Elizabeth, 13-14 
Spears, Robert, 11 
Storey, Ralph, 37 

United States 

Food and Drug Administration, 31, 41 

Health, Education, and Welfare, Department of, 41 

Labor Statistics, Bureau of, 7 

Price Administration, Office of, 6 

University of California, Berkeley, Institute of Industrial Relations, 15 
University of Colorado, 1 
Unruh, Jesse, 28 

Valory, Kay, 48 
Vial, Don, 10 

Waldie, Jerome, 36 

Ware, Lena, 6 

Warren, Charles, 30 

Wisconsin Health Policy Council, 39 

women in politics 

attitudes toward, 15-16, 27, 45-46 

in government (elected and appointed), 12-13, 27, 45-46 

husband s support, 15, 46-47 



Amelia R. Fry 

Graduated from the University of Oklahoma, B.A. in 
psychology and English, M.A. in educational psychology 
and English, University of Illinois; additional work, 
University of Chicago, California State University 
at Hayward. 

Instructor, freshman English at University of Illinois 
and at Hiram College. Reporter, suburban daily newspaper, 
1966-67 . 

Interviewer, Regional Oral History Office, 1959 ; 
conducted interview series on University history, 
woman suffrage, the history of conservation and forestry, 
public administration and politics. Director, Earl 
Warren Era Oral History Project, documenting govern 
mental/political history of California 1925-1953; 
director, Goodwin Knight-Edmund G. Brown Era Project. 

Author of articles in professional and popular journals; 
instructor, summer Oral History Institute, University of 
Vermont, 1975, 1976, and oral history workshops for 
Oral History Association and historical agencies; 
consultant to other oral history projects; oral history 
editor, Journal of Library History, 1969-1974; secretary, 
the Oral History Association, 1970-1973. 



Eleanor K. Glaser 



Raised and educated in the Middle West. During World 
War II, spent two years in the U.S. Marine Corps Women s 
Reserve. 

Senior year of college was taken in New Zealand, consequently 
A.B. degree in sociology from University of Michigan was 
granted in absentia. Study in New Zealand was followed by a 
year in Sydney, Australia, working for Caltex Oil Company. 

Work experience includes such non-profit organizations as 
Community Service Society, New York City; National Society 
for Crippled Children and Adults and National Congress of 
Parents and Teachers in Chicago. 

After moving to California in 1966, joined the staff of a 
local weekly newspaper, did volunteer publicity for the 
Judah Magnes Museum and the Moraga Historical Society, and 
was the Bay Area correspondent for a national weekly newspaper. 
Also served as a history decent for the Oakland Museum. 

Additional travel includes Great Britain, Europe, Israel, 
Mexico, and the Far East. 



JULIE GORDON SHEARER 



B.A. , Stanford University, 1962, with major in 
political science. 

Reporter and Feature Editor, Mill Valley Record (Ca.) 
1962-1963. 

Editor and Feature Writer, University of California, 
Berkeley, for Agricultural Extension (1963-1966) 
and Center for Research and Development in Higher 
Education (1967-1976). 

Consultant, University of California School of 
Criminology, evaluating North Richmond Newspaper 
Community Action Project, 1965. 

Interviewer-Editor for Regional Oral History Office, 
1978 to the present, concentrating on California 
political history. 



y I